- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
- 1 pound strawberries (2 pints), sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices brioche (1/2 inch thick)
- 1/2 cup mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 pints strawberry ice cream
- Fill a large metal bowl with ice water and set another large metal bowl in it. Set a strainer in the bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar until slightly pale. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with the cream and vanilla beans and seeds until small bubbles appear around the edge. Add the hot milk to the egg mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return the vanilla mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Strain the vanilla sauce into the bowl in the ice bath and let cool completely, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the strawberries, orange juice, zest, vinegar and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar; season very lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has become jammy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the jam to a bowl and let cool.
- Heat a panini press or griddle over low heat. Spread the mascarpone on 4 of the brioche slices. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the jam on each of the other 4 slices and close the sandwiches. Brush the sandwiches with the butter and grill or press until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the panini to a cutting board and dust with confectioners' sugar. Halve each sandwich.
- Put 1 pint of ice cream and half of the vanilla sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 large glasses. Repeat with the remaining ice cream and vanilla sauce to make 2 more shakes. Serve the milk shakes right away, with the panini.
The vanilla sauce and jam can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.