• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 cups eggnog (not low fat)
• 1 vanilla bean
• 8 egg yolks
• ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for caramelizing
• 1 ½ tablespoons dark rum
• Pinch nutmeg
• Berries for garnish, if desired
-Preheat the oven to 325°, and place 6, 6 ounce ramekins into a roasting pan or a large, deeper baking dish.
-Add the cream and eggnog into a large saucepan or pot; split the vanilla bean down the middle, and scrape out the inner paste, and add both the paste and the scraped bean into the cream/eggnog mixture; place the mixture over medium heat, and bring just to the boil, then turn off and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes.
-Strain the cream/eggnog mixture, and reserve the vanilla pod for another use, if desired; set the cream/eggnog mixture aside for a moment.
-In a large bowl, add the yolks and the sugar, and whisk until pale and thickened; next, slowly add a ladle-full of the hot cream/eggnog mixture into the eggs, whisking all the while, to temper and warm the eggs so they don’t scramble; then, slowly pour the remaining cream/eggnog mixture into the yolks/sugar and whisk, and then add the rum and the nutmeg, and gently whisk to incorporate.
-Pour the custard base into the ramekins set in the roasting pan, and skim off any foam you may see on top; place the roasting pan into the oven, and then pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about half-way up the ramekins (this will help keep the custard moist, and cook it evenly), and bake the custards for about 35-40 minutes, or unit they’re firm but still jiggle slightly in the center when moved.
-Allow the custards to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or even up to 3 days; then, when ready to serve, sprinkle about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar on top of each, and using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar until browned, candied and shell-like; garnish with fresh berries if desired, and enjoy immediately.