Makes 6 servings. Difficulty
2 cups milk 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 1 small cinnamon stick 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided 2 Tablespoons water 2 eggs lightly beaten 2 Tablespoons Cognac 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon allspice dash of salt
In a 2 quart saucepan, place the milk over medium heat. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. When cool, strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
In a 1 quart saucepan, heat 3/4 cup of sugar over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar is completely melted and golden brown, gradually stir in the water. Divide the syrup equally among 6 4-ounce ramekins. Allow to cool and harden for about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar with eggs, Cognac, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Gradually whisk in reserved milk. Divide the custard mixture in the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large rectangle pan and fill with hot water so that the water reaches 1/2 inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Carefully remove from the oven and refrigerate until still. Unmold the ramekins by running a knife around the edge of the ramekin. Invert the custard onto dessert plates and serve.