This is a classic rich dessert. It is so simple to make yet it will dazzle your family and friends.
2 cups heavy (or double) cream
6 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out
2/3 cup sugar plus extra to sugar the tops
Combine heavy cream and vanilla bean with seeds in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a slow boil over medium heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light in color.
Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whisking constantly. Strain custard through a fine mesh strainer and then place the vanilla pod back into the custard.
Cover the mixture with plastic wrap that has been pierced many times to allow the steam to release and chill for at least 4 hours (overnight will allow for the flavors to meld best and allow the custard to thicken a bit).
Preheat oven to 350. Place 4-5 six ounce ramekins in a baking pan that is deep enough to allow the water for the bain-marie to be added reaching at least halfway up the sides of the dishes.
Remove the vanilla bean from the custard mixture and fill ramekins 3/4 full.
Place pan in preheated oven and pour hot water into baking pan so water level reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, sealing edges to retain steam.
Cook 40 to 50 minutes or until custards are just set. They are done when a small area in the center is still a little wobbly.
Remove ramekins from baking pan and chill custard in refrigerator several hours or until chilled through.
To serve put a thin layer of granulated sugar atop each custard. Using a blow torch, over a heat and flame proof surface caramelize sugar working from the outside in towards the middle keeping the torch in constant motion. Sugar should be golden brown and caramelized never black. If burnt, let the sugar layer cool a few minutes then peel it away with a paring knife and begin again.
The French never get fat.. so can it REALLY be that bad??