makes six 8-ounce servings
4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split (*or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream and vanilla to a simmer. Remove pan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the sugar and yolks until they are a pale yellow. Whisk cream into the egg mixture and pour into 6 custard dishes. *If using vanilla extract, whisk it into the egg and sugar mixture (do not heat it with the cream).
Place dishes in a large baking dish lined with a towel. Pour boiling water into baking dish so that it comes to half way up the custard dishes. Bake for 30 minutes or until custard is firm but still wiggles. Chill for at least one hour. Top with brown sugar in an even layer and place under broiler until sugar melts and bubbles. Serve at room temperature.
Note: Pure vanilla extract may be used instead of splitting a vanilla bean, but the vanilla bean gives a much better flavor.