- 1 Quart Heavy Cream
- 1 Vanilla bean, Split lengthwise
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 pint whole eggs, lightly beaten
Bring cream, vanilla bean and sugar slowly to a boil, stirring gently with a clean, plastic, spatula. Occasionally agitate or squeeze the vanilla bean to release all the seeds. Have ready a 3 quart clean container, a strainer, and a whisk. When the cream reaches boiling point, pour in the eggs, at the same time whisking vigorously.
Once all is well blended and cooled by the addition of the eggs, stir more gently. In a few moments, the creamy mixture will begin to thicken, as it reheats towards boiling point. when it resembles the texture of custard or yogurt, remove from heat but continue to whisk steadily to cool and aerate slightly. Strain into the clean container. Smooth out any grainy parts with a hand blender and pour into oven proof custard cups, ramequins, or small bowls. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best, uncovered. Spread a teaspoon of granulated sugar on the surface of the custard. Caramelize the sugar with a blow torch, keeping the cup rotating all the time with the other hand. This takes a little practice and a lot of steady nerve, at first. Serve immediately, though they can sit for a few minutes, if necessary. Berries are a refreshing counterpart to this rich classic.
NOTE: The caramel can be done under a very hot broiler, but this can make a bit of a mess of the ramekins, and it is best to severely chill the custards by putting them in the freezer for a few minutes.
Serves 8-10 persons