I’ve made this recipe several times now and it truly is the best recipe.
six 4-ounce servings
- 1 full vanilla bean (I like Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans) (Alternatively use 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks, must be at room temperature*
- 3/4 cup superfine white sugar, separated (regular white sugar will work too)
- 6 cups water
- Optional: fresh berries to serve with
Start by splitting the vanilla bean down the center. Scrape out all the seeds and place into a large bowl. Take the vanilla bean pod and place in a small pot with the sea salt and heavy cream. If using vanilla extract, don’t add quite yet to the sea salt and heavy cream.
Heat the heavy cream mixture over the stove until the cream is simmering. Do not boil! Remove from the stove and set aside to slightly cool. Remove the vanilla bean pod. If using vanilla extract, stir it in to this mixture now.
In the bowl with the vanilla bean seeds (or an empty bowl if using vanilla extract), add the egg yolks and 1/2 cup superfine sugar. Beat until the mixture is light, about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, place 6 cups of water in a large pot and heat to boiling.
Add about 1/4th of the cream mixture into the egg + sugar mixture. Stir until combined, then pour the remaining heavy cream mixture into the egg + sugar mixture. Stir until combined.
Pour the prepared mixture evenly into the ramekins – use either (6) 4-ounce ramekins, (5) 5-ounce ramekins, or (4) 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a metal 9 x 13 baking pan and add boiling water to the pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 325 F until the centers are barely set (very slight jiggle). Cool completely at room temperature and then refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving. (These can be refrigerated for 4-5 days before using)
When ready to serve, add the remaining 1/4 cup superfine sugar on top of the custards in equal portions. I find it helpful to use a little more sugar than needed to swirl around on top of the custard to make sure the top is evenly coated with sugar – then just pour the extra sugar onto the next ramekin. Use a kitchen torch to torch the tops until the sugar melts and browns (or even slightly blackens). Top with fresh berries and enjoy immediately 🙂