6 large eggs
500 ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod (or equivalent in vanilla extract – about 3 tsp)
Pinch of salt
¾ cup white sugar (plus a little more for the caramelising the tops)
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Boil a kettle of water. Get a high walled baking tray that can fit 6 ramekins, and line the bottom of it with a clean, folded up dishcloth. Lay out 6 ramekins on the cloth inside the tray.
Separate the eggs and add the yolks to a mixing bowl (you can keep the whites to make meringues later).
Add the cream to a small saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds, as well as the pod (or just use the extract) to the cream.
Heat up the cream on the stove until just below boiling point and remove from heat.
Add the sugar and salt to the eggs and mix well with a whisk, don’t over-beat it though. If you used a real vanilla pod, remove the husk (the empty shell of the pod) from the cream.
Roll up a damp dishcloth and lay it out in a circle on your workbench. Place the mixing bowl with the eggs on this “nest”. It will allow you to whisk with your one hand, while pouring cream with the other. Without the cloth the mixing bowl will probably move all over the place.
Start adding small amounts of the hot cream into the egg mixture, while whisking with your other hand. Make sure the cream is completely mixed in before adding more. If you go too fast with this the eggs may cook and turn into scrambled eggs, so take your time and do this properly. Once you have added about half the cream, the eggs should be tempered, and you can go a bit faster (add more cream in one go).
Once all the cream is mixed in with the eggs, scoop off and discard most of the foam that will have formed on top with a slotted spoon. Divide the remaining mixture into the 6 ramekins. Pour the hot water into the baking dish, until it reaches about halfway up the side of the ramekins. Take care not to get any water inside the ramekins.
Carefully place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and remove the ramekins from the tray. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill the ramekins in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours, or even better, overnight.
When you are ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the fridge and sprinkle about half a teaspoon of white sugar on top of each. Shake the ramekin from side to side so the sugar spreads out evenly.
Using a blowtorch, gently caramelise the sugar until it goes dark brown. Make sure to spread the heat around so it caramelises evenly.
Allow to cool for 1 minute, then serve.