ingredients (serves 6-10 depending on ramekin size):
1 vanilla bean (about 1 tsp vanilla extract is substitute for 1 vanilla bean)
3 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. split vanilla bean in half lengthwise*; scrape seeds* into medium heatproof bowl. heat pod and cream in medium pot, without boiling.
add egg yolks and sugar to seeds in bowl; gradually whisk in hot cream mixture. place bowl over medium pot of simmering water; stir over medium heat about 10 minutes or until custard mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. discard pod.
divide custard among six 1/2-cup heatproof dishes (ramekins). place dishes in large baking dish; pour enough boiling water into baking dish to come halfway up sides of dishes. bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until custards are just set. remove custards from water; cool to room temperature. cover; refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
bring custards to room temperature (suggested).
if you have a kitchen torch: add about 1/2 tsp to the top of each custard, spread evenly and torch until crispy or golden brown
if you do not have a kitchen torch: preheat broiler. place custards in shallow broiler-safe dish filled with ice cubes; sprinkle custards evenly with sifted powdered sugar. using finger, distribute the sugar over the surface of each custard, pressing in gently; place under hot broiler until tops of crème brûlées are caramelized.
*i split up the substituted vanilla extract between the two bowls
recipe from best ever recipes cookbook.