A french custard dish, noted for its crispy caramelized sugar topping. A simple recipe:
1Quart of Heavy Cream
9 egg yolks
1 Vanilla Bean
3/4 of a cup of very fine granulated sugar

Heat your oven to 250 degrees. Place your cream into a saucepan. Split the Vanilla bean and scrape the insides into the pan (I usually throw the pod in too). Bring the cream/vanilla mixture to a low simmer (do not boil!). Strain the cream into a bowl and allow to cool. Cream your sugar and egg yolks together. Mix the cream in your egg yolks slowly (you may want to temper your eggs with (a small amount) some of the hot cream first, if you do not have time to allow it to cool sufficiently). Divide the mixture into ramekins filled about 3/4 of the way. Place the ramekins into a deep roasting pan. Fill the pan with water so that the level of the water matches the level of the custard in your ramekins. Bake until the custard is set (about 40 minutes). Remove the ramekins from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of sugar over the top of each custard. With a kitchen torch caramelize the sugar on each custard. This is done by sweeping the flame from the torch quickly and evenly across the surface of the sugar until it begins to bubble and turn brown.

For variations to flavor you can add a variety of items to the cream-vanilla mixture, including, ground espresso, orange peel, chocolate, etc... use your imagination.