2 1/2 ounces black licorice sticks, gently crushed or just buy 8 of these: pure-hard-liquorice-sole-a.k.a-spanish-sticks-
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine or granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
few drops of natural black food coloring
1. Put the licorice in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and place over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the licorice has melted.
2. Meanwhile, pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.
3. Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan, place over low heat, stir in the melted licorice, and heat until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let boil. Add the black food coloring to desired effect.
4. Pour back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, fill a sink halfway with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the refrigerator.
5. Once cooled, cover the mixture and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 40°F).
6. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).
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