Prep: 10 mins
| Cook: 45 mins
| Extra time: 2 hours, chilling
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Pour the milk and cream into a heavy based saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean length ways and scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and bean to the saucepan. Heat until almost boiling, then simmer for a couple of minutes on a very low heat. Do not let it boil!
In a large heat proof bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar together until it begins to thicken and the color turns pale.
Take cream off the heat. Slowly pour the cream a little at a time, into the egg yolks and mix together until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a jug. Try and squeeze through all the seeds but discard the pods and any lumps of egg.
Pour the mixture into your ramekins or up to about 3/4 of the way full. Then place your ramekins into a baking dish with high edges. Pour boiling water into the baking dish, being careful not to let any water splash into the ramekins. Fill with water half way up on the ramekins.
Pop into your preheated oven for 45 minutes. When they are set they should still have a slight wobble in the middle.
Take out of the water and leave to cool. They can now either be chilled in the fridge. You can make these a day in advance to save some time.
To caramelize the top, sprinkle a teaspoon of golden brown sugar on top, spreading evenly. Use a propane torch to gently heat the sugar until it melts and turns dark golden brown. Be careful not to burn them! When they have cooled, if you like a really crunchy top, add another teaspoon of sugar to the top and torch it again. Leave to cool and serve within 2 hours or the sugar will begin to go soft.
If you don’t have a torch you can put them under your oven's broiler, but make sure you keep an eye on them so they do not burn!