Preheat the oven to 120C. Caramel
Pour the sugar
and a drop of water into a big heavy-based frying pan and heat slowly without stirring it.
Rotate it like a see-saw until the sugar melts and turns into a golden caramel.
Warm 6 ramekins and brush the insides with caramel
Pour it in, tilting the dishes until they are coated. Custard
Put the milk and the vanilla into large pot and bring to just below boiling point and then set aside to cool.
Whisk the eggs and gradually whisk in the sugar.
Remove the vanilla pod
from the milk and pour the milk into the egg and sugar mixture, adding the vanilla extract and whisking well.
Put the ramekins into an oven tray and sieve the milk mixture into the ramekins.
Pour boiling water into the oven tray until the ramekins are halfway immersed in water – like a baine marie
Bake in the oven until a thin knife inserted into the middle of each dish comes out clean – then remove from the oven, wipe dry and chill in the fridge for most of the day or over-night.
When you want to serve it, run a round-edged blade around the edge of each ramekin to loosen it, put a plate upside down over each little dish, and invert onto the serving plate.