Makes 6 ramekins
This recipe is adapted from one by Alton Brown and gives the most classic rendition of the dessert. Many other flavors, such as ginger, cardamom, or matcha, can be steeped into the cream as a change from the traditional vanilla.
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 6 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 325º and place a rack in the center. Bring a pot of water to a boil and set aside. Place the cream and vanilla bean and its scrapings in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and save for another use. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup sugar and egg yolks until they begin to lighten in color. Whisk in the cream a little at a time. Strain into six 8-ounce ramekins. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and arrange on the oven rack. Add reserved hot water to the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 40–45 minutes, or until edges are set and middle is still wiggly. Refrigerate ramekins at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Divide the remaining ½ cup sugar among the ramekins and spread evenly over the tops. Using a torch, melt the sugar to form a nicely browned top. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.