2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 quart water for the oven
raspberries, 1/2 tsp brandy, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp or the vanilla extract, into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean, add the brandy.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Add the cream little by little, stirring constantly. Pour the liquid into the ramekins. Add a few raspberries in each one. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling, about 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan, let them cool down. Then cover them and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Remove the creme brulee from the fridge for about 30 minutes. Divide the remaining 1/4 cup sugar among the dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar to form a crispy top. Or put them under the broiler for just a few minutes . Allow the creme to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. You can add more raspberries and mint leaves on top as decoration.
Bon appetit !