The trick to getting a smooth ice cream that doesn't have big chunks of rock hard frozen strawberries, is to cook the strawberries slightly first! Cook the water, sugar and vanilla bean until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the strawberries and simmer on low for 5 minutes. The strawberries will still be whole, but wilted after releasing their juices. Allow them to cool and refrigerate before using them.
Prepare the ice cream base at least several hours before using, but preferably the day before to allow it to set up properly.
Prepare an ice bath to cool your ice cream custard. Place ice in a large bowl, fill that bowl 1/2 way with cold water. Place another bowl into the ice water. Make sure the bowl is big enough to hold all of the ice cream custard.
In a medium sauce pan gently heat the half & half, sugar and salt. Place your yolks in a medium sized bowl and whisk so they are smooth. While whisking, slowly drizzle a cup of the hot cream over the yolks.
When the yolks feel warm add them back to the pot of cream and cook on low heat, just until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon. Immediately remove from heat.
Cool the custard in the ice bath until well chilled. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is even better to achieve the smoothest texture.
Once you are ready to make the ice cream strain the strawberries. Use a Hand Blender to chop them up. I like to keep some chunks of strawberry, but you may prefer to puree it. Stir the strawberries into your ice cream base and freeze according the Ice Cream Maker instructions.
The ice cream should be set up, but still soft like ice cream from Dairy Queen. In other words don't let it spin so long that it is hard enough to scoop. If you let it go that far it may get grainy and a little bit greasy tasting. Transfer it to a container that you have chilled in the freezer. Freeze the ice cream for a couple of hours. This may seem like a long time to wait, but the texture of the ice cream you get will be so worth it!
Serve the strawberry-rhubarb crisp with your creamy strawberry ice cream and enjoy!