A classic creme caramel recipe with instructions on how to make fancy caramel pieces to decorate.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Place 4 ramekin dishes sitting on top of a large flat roasting pan.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the water and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Simmer over moderate heat until a rich brown caramel forms, about 15 minutes.
Quickly pour the caramel into the ramekins to coat the bottoms.
Split vanilla bean then scrape vanilla bean into 1/2 cup sugar, whisk in eggs. Heat milk then slowly add hot milk to sugar and whisk.
Pour mixture through a fine sieve and then pour into ramekins.
Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custards for about 35 minutes or until barely set. Remove from the oven.
Use oven mitts to remove the ramekins from the hot water bath.
Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes, then place into fridge until chilled.
To serve, dip the ramekin base in very hot water for 15 to 20 seconds.
Run a sharp knife around the sides of the ramekin. Invert the custards onto serving plates.
The caramel pour around the dessert.
To make caramel decorations:
Place 2/3 cup water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat then stir in 3/4 cup caster sugar.
Heat on low until sugar dissolves.
Bring the syrup to a boil until the syrup turns a golden brown.
Drizzle caramel onto a sheet of tinfoil to create decorations. Let cool, before removing and decorating your dessert.