8 large eggs yollks or 4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons granulated light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat almost to a simmer: 2 cups heavy cream Stir with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl just until blended: 8 large egg yolks or 4 large eggs 1⁄2 cup sugar Gradually stir in the cream. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or a large measure with a pouring lip. Stir in: 3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla
Pour into four 6-ounce or six 4-ounce custard cups or ramekins (small ceramic cups also work well as long as they're oven-proof) and place in a roasting pan. Have a large measuring cup of scalding hot tap water ready. Set the pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to come one-half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the custard dishes. Bake until the custards are set but still slightly quivery in the center when the cups are gently shaken, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the custards slightly in the water bath, then remove them and let cool to room temperature.
Cover each one tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days. Shortly before serving, gently blot any liquid that has formed on the surface of the custards with the paper towels. Sprinkle evenly over the top of each custard: 2 to 3 teaspoons granulated light brown sugar
Arrange the custards on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Broil until the sugar melts and bubbles, turning the pan and/or moving the custards around if some cook more quickly than others. Some sugar will remain unmelted and some spots will char; this is part of the charm.
Bonjour Chef's Creme Brulee Torch
If you are using a propane torch, sprinkle the sugar over each custard as above. Ignite your propane torch according to the manufacturer's instructions. Hold the torch so that the flame is not directly touching the surface of the custards, but it should be close enough to melt the sugar fairly quickly. Move the torch slowly over the custards to melt all the sugar, and continue bruleeing until the sugar is a deep, caramel brown color. Serve at once.