6 duck eggs, yolks only (or 9 chicken egg yolks)
Scant ½ cup granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla
3 cups heavy cream
⅜ teaspoon Chef Milton’s Lavender Sea Salt
For Carmelized Top
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Heavy pinch of Chef Milton’s Lavender Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a saucepan, warm the cream. It should be hot, not bubbling or boiling. Mix eggs yolks and sugar until well incorporated. Gradually stir in the hot cream. Add the vanilla and lavender salt. If necessary, pour mixture through a strainer to eliminate any solid bits of yolk.
Put a cloth dishtowel in the bottom of a deep casserole (glass or metal), and then place six ramekins in casserole (on top of towel). Pour custard into each ramekin (about ¾ full).
Before baking, add water to the bottom of the casserole, enough to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (The water, which soaks the dishtowel, insulates the ramekins and evenly distributes the heat.) Bake until set, approximately 25 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate.
TO CARAMELIZE TOP
Combine sugar with Lavender Sea Salt. Discard any large lavender buds; they will burn during torching. Dab moisture from the tops of the custards. Sprinkle each with the sugar mixture—about a teaspoon per ramekin— creating a light, even layer. Hold medium-flamed torch about 2 to 3 inches over each ramekin. The sugar will begin to turn brown and bubble as it caramelizes, about 20-30 seconds per ramekin. The tops harden while the custard stays cool. Serve within an hour. Caramelized tops eventually soften.
Chef Milton prefers using a kitchen torch, a gadget that is relatively inexpensive. Any home propane torch will do. This step can also be accomplished with a broiler but it’s trickier. Consult your favorite cookbook or online resource.