Service for 4
3 T water
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the water and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer over moderate heat until a rich brown caramel forms, about 15 minutes. Quickly pour the caramel into the ramekins to coat the bottoms.
1 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 cups milk
2 T heavy cream
Split vanilla bean then scrape vanilla bean into 1/2 cup sugar, whisk in eggs. Heat milk then slowly add hot milk to sugar and whisk. Send through a fine sieve. Then pour into ramekins.
Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards for about 35 minutes (325F), or until barely set. Remove from the oven. Use tongs to remove the ramekins from the hot water bath. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes, then refrigerate until well chilled. The custards can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
To serve, dip the ramekin in very hot water for 15 to 20 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the ramekin. Invert the custards onto serving plates. The caramel will pool around the inverted custards.