Ginger and vanilla add a hint of the Tropics to this rich French custard with its candylike crust.
• 6 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 3 cups heavy cream
• 1 vanilla bean, split
• 3 dime-sized slices of fresh ginger
• 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
1. In the top of a double boiler, combine the egg yolks and granulated sugar. Over hot water, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick enough to form a ribbon. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream.
2. Add the vanilla bean and ginger slices. Return the double boiler to the heat and, taking care that the water in the lower pan does not boil, cook slowly, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes, or until the custard coats a spoon heavily.
3. Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter, a little at a time, until all of it has been incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl and then ladle the strained custard into six individual 4-ounce heatproof ramekins. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight.
4. Place the oven rack as close to the broiler element as possible and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle an even 1/4-inch layer of the brown sugar over the custard. Place the ramekins under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the sugar caramelizes. Serve immediately.
—Sharon Scott, Memphis, Tennessee