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Oooo-La-La! So creamy and decadently delicious. Tried and true Gale Gand recipe. She's a 'go-to' queen maven of desserts if you want perfection.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pour 2 cups sugar into the center of a deep saucepan. Carefully pour the water around the sugar, trying not to splash any sugar onto the sides of the pan. Do not stir; gently draw your finger through the center of the sugar twice, making a cross, to moisten it. (this method prevents crystallization).
- Over medium high heat, bring to a boil without stirring. Reduce the heat to a fast simmer and cook without stirring until amber-caramel in color for 5 - 10 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, set a 9" cake pan nearby. When the caramel is cooked, quickly pour into the cake pan and swirl to coat the sides (do this very carefully to not burn yourself) . Set aside to cool.
- In a saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, additional egg yolks, and the remaining 1 cup sugar.
- Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Whisk the remaining hot milk into the egg mixture. Strain the mixture into a pitcher to smooth it and to remove the vanilla bean, scraping seeds of vanilla bean and returning it to the egg mixture. Discard vanilla bean shell.
- Pour the mixture into the caramel-lined cake pan and place in a hot water bath.
- Bake in the center of the oven until dry and set in the center, 45 - 50 minutes.
- Remove from the water bath and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 24 hours). Turn onto a serving platter.
- NOTE: Vanilla bean is always preferred because it imparts a pure deep flavor as opposed to vanilla extract. I've used vanilla extract (do not use imitation) many a time due to the cost of the vanilla bean. The next best thing to vanilla bean is pure vanilla bean paste - Nielson Massey brand carries this item. But if you can afford it, go with the vanilla bean!