Steamed Vanilla Bean Custard
180 gm (2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 ½ (6 1/3 cups) whole milk
2 each vanilla beans
split and scraped
12 whole eggs
Hot water for steaming
  • Espresso cups or ramekins
  • Deep hotel pan
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, stir the sugar into the milk until completely dissolved. Add the vanilla bean with its seeds. Do not boil. Turn off and let cool completely.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk into the cooled milk mixture. Strain the custard base through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any foam.
Gently divide custard into espresso cups (fill 3/4 of the way), pouring carefully to avoid creating any bubbles. Place cups in a deep hotel pan or large pot. Carefully pour the hot water into the pan - enough to come 3/4 of the way up the sides of the cups (this is called a bain-marie and will help the custard cook more evenly). Cover the pan tightly with foil.
Bake in the oven, checking every 15 minutes. They can take anywhere from 15 - 45 minutes, depending on the size of your baking vessel. Custards are done when the edges are just set and the center is still jiggly, but no longer liquid (or when a thermometer reads 160F when inserted into the custard). Remove foil and carefully remove cups from the water bath. They can be served warm, or let cool and serve chilled.