1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 whole bean)
1 qt. heavy cream
8 egg yolks
3/4 c. + 6 Tbs. sugar (or superfine)
note: try using 1/2 cup sugar instead of the 3/4 next time
Preheat oven to300° (325°). Start a pot of water boiling.
Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into cream and add the rest of the bean. Heat cream & vanilla to just before boiling. Pour cream through fine sieve to filter out vanilla bean.
Beat egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar until light yellow in color (approx 3-4 minutes by hand). Beating for less time seems to yield similar results?
Temper egg yolks by whisking vigorously while adding very small amounts of the hot cream to the yolk mixture. Continue adding cream very slowly, increasing amount as mixture "warms".
Place 8 (6) shallow ramekins in rimmed baking sheet and fill each ramekin 3/4 full. Place the pan inside oven and add boiling water 1/2 up sides of ramekins being careful not to get water in custard. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.
Place filled ramekins [8 - 7oz custard cups or 6 shallow "crème brulee ramekins) on rack in electric roaster oven and pour boiling water around. Bake at 275 -300° for 30 min. or until set.
Cool and cover ramekins with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator at least 3 (2) hours or overnight.
When ready, sprinkle each ramekin generously with approx. 1 Tbs sugar and brown with kitchen torch, keeping torch moving to prevent burning. Serve within 30 minutes to prevent sugar "crust" from becoming soggy.
(Pioneer Woman Cooks recipe is in parenthesis if it differs from modified recipe)