We all remember
the first time we tasted this ethereal dessert. And, it remains
magical every time we dip a spoon into it. There is, however, little
mystery to making it and for the "Wow! you'll get as you serve it,
there's little reason not to make it often at home.
• 2 1/3 cups heavy cream
• 2/3 cup milk
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 3 whole eggs
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or,
better, the seeds from one vanilla bean
• 3/4 cup light brown sugar
1. Preheat the
oven to 300ºF.
2. Heat the cream, milk, and sugar in a heavy saucepan to almost
boiling. In a separate bowl, beat the whole eggs and the egg yolks
3. Gradually whisk the heated mixture into the eggs, then return the
mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly
with a wooden spoon, until the custard coasts the back of the spoon, 3
to 4 minutes; remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour the custard into 6 individual custard dishes or into 1 shallow
baking dish about 9 inches across. Set the dishes or dish in a large
pan and plane on the center rack of the oven. Carefully pour hot water
into the outer pan to come level with the custard.
5. Bake until the center of the custard is set, 35 to 45 minutes. when
done, remove the custard from the water bath and cool. Cover and
6. A few hours before serving, preheat the broiler.
7. Sift the brown sugar evenly over the top of the custards, spreading
it to the edges. Set the custard on a baking sheet and place under the
broiler as close to the heat as possible. Broil until browned but not
burned, about 1½
Watch closely. Remove and serve immediately or chill.