Tender custard hides a layer of golden caramel. You may serve the custards in the cup, with the caramel still hidden, or unmold the custards and reveal the caramel on top.
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Milk - 4 cups
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- Eggs - 6
- Egg Yolk - 1
- Sugar - 1 cup
To make the caramel: Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and swirl to dissolve. Cook over medium heat until the mixture turns the color of maple syrup. Remove and cool to room temperature.
To make the custard: Scald the milk with the vanilla. Beat the eggs and egg yolk with the sugar until the mixture is thick and lemon colored. Stir a spoonful of hot milk into the egg mixture to temper, then slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs, whisking vigorously until slightly cooled. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
To assemble and serve: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Divide the caramel among the custard cups, pouring a little into the bottom of each. Add the strained custard. Place the cups in a baking dish and add hot water half way up the sides of the cups. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a knife near the edge of the cup; if the knife comes out clean, the custard is done. Or, shake a cup: if the custard trembles it has not completely set. When done, remove from heat.
This dessert may be served warm or cold, unmolded or in the cups.