Crème caramel with vanilla bean
4 cups milk
1 ⁄ 2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 ⁄ 2 cup warm water
In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine milk, sugar and vanilla bean seeds; bring to boil. Remove from heat and set aside for 1 hour to infuse and cool.
Meanwhile, for caramel, in a small pot, over very high heat, combine sugar and water, stirring just to dissolve. Watch closely; allow to boil until mixture turns to a deep caramel colour; about 2 minutes. Quickly remove from heat and pour equal parts into 6 small buttered ramekins. Swirl caramel up sides of each ramekin; caramel will harden quickly; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, lightly whisk eggs and yolks; strain vanilla infused milk mixture into eggs, whisking until well incorporated; then strain again into ramekins. Place ramekins into a large baking dish; fill baking dish with water until water reaches halfway up sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Once completely cooled, chill in refrigerator overnight.
To serve, pour some boiling water into a bowl; place ramekin into water, about 15 seconds, then run knife around inside. Place serving plate on top of ramekin, turn upside down and remove ramekin, allowing caramel to spill over edges of crème. Serve immediately. Serves 6.