(7-8 portions, depends on size of ramekins)
4 C heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
12 egg yolks
In a saucepan, add cream, vanilla and vanilla bean (seeds and bean) and bring to a simmer. Bubbles around the edges…no need to boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for about 15 minutes.
In a bowl combine egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until smooth ribbons form. Careful not to over beat.
Slowly drizzle cream mix into yolk mix while stirring and carefully blend together. Through a fine mesh strainer, pour the custard mix into a pitcher. Place into the refrigerator for a few hours or until cooled. There will be a film on top. Scrape off the film. Pour custard mix into ramekins for baking.
Ramekins need to be placed in a towel-lined Pyrex baking dish. (13 X 9 or larger) Add enough hot water that it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Larger ramekins will yield seven portions. Carefully place into a preheated 300 degree oven and bake for 27 minutes. Carefully rotate the baking vessel and bake for another 27 minutes or until there is a very tight “jiggle”. Remove baking pans to the counter and allow creme brûlée to remain in the water bath. Wait until the water is room temperature before removing ramekins. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and refrigerate. Once the creme brûlée is cooled, cover them with plastic wrap.
These are best made a day or two ahead.
For burning off, follow instructions in the recipe for Maple Pumpkin Creme Brûlée.