This recipe (from Le Cirque) comes from the Essential New York Times Cookbook via Cheverly's greatest chef, Scott, who blogs over at Eat with Me.
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split, sees scraped out and reserved
- Pinch of salt
- 8 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup plus 2 TB granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2. Gently whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Gradually pour in the hot cream and stir gently to combine. Strain the custard into a pitcher; discard the vanilla bean and use a spoon to skim off any bubbles on the surface of the custard.
3. Pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them almost to the rim. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour warm water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake until set, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow to cool.
4. Cover the ramekins individually and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days.
5. When ready to serve, heat the broiler. Uncover the ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Top each with 1 TB of brown sugar, and using a metal spatula or your gingers, spread the sugar evenly over the custards. Broil the custards about 4 inches from the heating element until the sugar browns and caramelizes, 30 seconds to 1 minute. *Use a blowtorch, if you have one, to caramelize the sugar on top.
NOTES: I had 6 matching ramekins. I tested how much custard they could hold, by filling them with water, then measuring that amount. Each of my ramekins held 3/4 of a cup of the custard. That was exactly how much this recipe made. Six ramekins of 3/4 cup of custard.
As noted above, I used a blend of three sugars, granulated white sugar, brown sugar and turbinado sugar. Not necessary, but interesting.