Yield: 4 6-oz ramekins
2 1/3 C heavy whipping cream
2/3 C sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 vanilla bean, or 2 t good vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place 4 (6 oz) ramekins in a 13x9 baking pan. Fill a tea kettle or small saucepan with a spout with water and heat.
Add the heavy cream and sugar to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Using a sharp paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean using the back of the knife to prevent the pod from breaking. Add the seeds and the pod to the saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the vanilla seeds break up and the mixture comes to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture into a large bowl.
Have your egg yolks ready in a separate large bowl. Whisk them to combine. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture, (gradually is key- we don't want scrambled eggs!) and make sure to scrape any remaining vanilla beans into the mixture as well. Pour the custard into the ramekins. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully place the baking dish into the oven.
Bake the custards until the center is set and the edges are just barely brown, 30-35 minutes. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, place into the refrigerator to chill.
When ready to eat, pour 1 tablespoon of sugar on top and swirl around to cover the top of the custard. Dump out the excess. Using a kitchen torch, "brulee" the sugar until golden brown. Let cool. Using a spoon, crack through the top crust and enjoy!