1 basket fresh raspberries, divided
6 eggs yolks, chilled
6 tbsp sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
4 tbsp sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Adjust oven rack to center position. Butter six (6-ounce) custard cups and set them into a glass-baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.
Place 8 raspberries in each of the custard cups. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Add sugar and mix until dissolved. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Whisk in cream, then pour mixture into prepared custard cups.
Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way cup the sides of the custard cups. NOTE: The most common mistake people make in baking custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath. The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups. You must protect your custard from the heat. Bake approximately 45 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cup you are using, but begin checking at a half-hour and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that’s when you can remove it from the oven.
Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled to room temperature. Remove cups from water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of remaining sugar over each créme brulee. For best results, use a small hand-held torch. Hold the torch 4 to 5 inches from the sugar, maintaining a slow and even motion. Stop torching just before the desired degree of doneness is reached, as the sugar will continue to cook for a few seconds after flame has been removed. If you don’t have a torch, place créme brulees 6 inches below the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown. Refrigerate créme brulees at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve within 1 hour, as topping will deteriorate. Garnish with remaining raspberries before serving. Makes 6 servings (depending on size of custard cups).