250ml heavy (double) cream
200ml whole milk
6 egg yolks, room temperature
85g granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon for finish
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed (or 1 1/1 teaspoons of vanilla paste)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Place 3 – one cup (240 ml) ramekins in a roasting pan.
In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the cream and the vanilla bean and seeds to the scalding point (the cream just begins to bubble around the edges). Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean.
Meanwhile in a heatproof bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale (about 1-2 minutes). (You can do this with a wire whisk or hand mixer.)
Gradually pour the scalding cream into the egg yolk mixture, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle. (Stir in vanilla extract, if using.)
Strain into a large measuring cup or pitcher and then evenly pour the custard into the ramekins.
Prepare a water bath (bain marie) by carefully pouring enough hot or boiling water so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes (baking time can vary depending on size of ramekins and temperature of water) or just until the custards are set (a slight wobble is okay).
Immediately remove the custards from the water bath and cool to room temperature on a wire rack (about one hour). Refrigerate (uncovered) for at least 4 hours or until cold and firm. At this point they can be stored (covered) in the refrigerator for about three days.
To serve, remove the custards from the refrigerator. Sprinkle an even, not too thick, layer (about 1 tablespoon (15 grams)) of caster sugar over the custards