3 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 5-6, 6-ounce ramekins in a 9” x 13” baking dish and boil water to prepare a water bath. Note the number of ramekins will depend on how big/deep they are.
Pour the heavy cream into a large saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the contents out with a spoon or the back of a knife and add that and the bean to the cream along with the vanilla extract and the salt. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let sit for 15 minutes.
Strain the cream mixture into a large measuring cup (or bowl with a spout for pouring) through a mesh sieve.
Whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Temper the eggs by very slowly pouring the warm cream mixture into the eggs and whisking constantly. When the hot cream is fully whisked into the eggs, pour the mixture into the ramekins, leaving about ½” from the top.
Carefully pour the boiling water into the baking dish around the ramekins until it comes about half way up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath for even cooking. Carefully place the baking dish in the oven so you do not splash any water into the ramekins.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the custard is firm on the sides but still jiggly in the middle. Cook time will depend on the size and depth of your ramekins, but begin checking them at 30 minutes. Bring the custards to room temperature and then chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Top each custard with ½ – 1 tablespoon of sugar and brûlée with a torch to make a crisp golden brown layer. Note, you can also brûlée them under a broiler on high, but it is harder to get an even crust and you might overcook the custard, so a torch is preferred.