Preheat oven to 300°
1. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine:
4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
pinch of salt
2. Warm over moderate heat until the surface begins to shimmer, about 5
3. In a large bowl, stir with a wooden spoon until blended:
8 egg yolks
¾ cup plus 2 T. granulated sugar
4. Pour in the hot cream and stir gently to avoid forming air bubbles. Strain
custard into a large measuring cup or pitcher and skin off any surface
(Rinse vanilla bean and reserve for another use)
5. Place eight ¾ cup ramekins in a roasting pan. Pour custard into ramekins,
filling to rim.
6. Place the roasting pan in oven and pour in enough warm water to reach
halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
7. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until custard is firm
around edges. (It may still be wobbly at the center; it will firm up as in chills)
8. Remove ramekins from the water bath and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until
cold. At least 3 hours.
- The custards may be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead. If small pockets of liquid develop on the surfaces, blot with a paper towel before proceeding.
9. Preheat broiler. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet. Sieve 1 T. brown sugar
over the top of each custard in a thin layer. Using a metal spatula or a sharp
knife spread sugar evenly.
10. Broil custards as close to the heat as possible until the sugar is caramelized, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Watch carefully!
11. Let cook and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.