Prep 15 mins
Cook 35 mins
A wonderful recipe from my favorite Chef, Ming Tsai. He suggests you "try to get Tahitian beans-they’re particularly plump and fragrant-though any fresh vanilla beans will do".
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 8 egg yolks
- 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream, cold
- 4 tablespoons superfine sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 f.
- In a small saucepan, combine the half-and-half, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract.
- Heat over medium heat just until scalded; do not allow the mixture to boil.
- Fill a large bowl with water and add ice.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, egg yolks, and granulated sugar and mix.
- Gradually stir in the scalded half-and-half mixture and place the smaller bowl in the bowl of ice water to cool completely.
- Stir in the heavy cream and divide among eight 4-ounce ramekins.
- Place in a baking dish just large enough to hold them and add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake until the custard is set but still quivers in the center, about 35 minutes.
- Remove the ramekins from the water and refrigerate to cool completely.
- Preheat the broiler, if using.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar on top of each custard, spread over the surface, and tap out any excess.
- Place the ramekins on a broiling tray and broil until the top is melted and caramelized, about 30 seconds.
- Watch carefully; the sugar can burn easily.
- If using a torch pass the flame about 2 inches over the surface of the custards until the sugar is completely caramelized.
- Serve while still warm.
- Ming's Tip: To caramelize the sugar coating, use either a broiler or propane torch. Working with the latter may seem scary, but torches are easily handled and are beautifully efficient. Look for a small version, often called a kitchen torch. If using a torch, replace the superfine sugar. Raw sugar caramelizes more successfully under a torch flame.