posted by Celene 01-25-99 8:29 AM
3 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
2 small or 1 large vanilla bean
1/2 c. light brown sugar
If you have time before serving, halve the vanilla bean(s) lengthwise and place in cream carton for a day or so. If not, then heat the bean(s) in the cream when you heat it.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat the cream and sugar over low heat, or in the microwave. Work the vanilla bean(s) with a spoon to help flavor the cream. When the cream warms up, scrape the insides out of the vanilla beans and return them to the cream. Discard the outsides, or reserve for another use. Continue heating the cream until it is hot but not boiling.
Beat the egg yolks until light and pour the hot cream over them gradually, stirring vigorously. Strain the mixture into a baking dish or custard cups.
Place the dish in a pan containing one inch of hot water and bake until the custard is lightly set in the center (it should not jiggle, but do not overcook). Chill thoroughly.
Before serving, cover the surface with the brown sugar. Set the dish on a bed of cracked ice and put the creme under the broiler until the sugar is brown and melted.
Serve immediately or chill again and serve cold. You can use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar, but the broiler works nearly as well.
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