2 cups eggnog
2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1oz Brandy (bourbon or spiced rum may be used instead)
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons brown sugar
additional 4 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 325°.
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.
Remove vanilla pod; set the cream/eggnog mixture aside to cool.
In a large bowl, add the yolks and 1/3 cup of sugar, whisk until pale and thickened; next, slowly add a ladle-full of the warm 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 brandy and the nutmeg, and gently whisk to incorporate.
Transfer to ten 6-oz. ramekins or custard cups. Place cups in a baking pan; add 1 in. of boiling water to pan. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until centers are just set (mixture will jiggle). Remove ramekins from water bath; cool 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining sugar.
If using a torch: Sprinkle custards with sugar mixture. Heat sugar with the torch until caramelized. Serve immediately.
If you do not have a torch, your can caramelize the sugar in your oven. Place ramekins on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Broil 8 in. from the heat 4-7 minutes or until sugar is caramelized.
Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until firm.