Total: 3 hr 35 min(includes cooling and chilling times)
Active: 35 min
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean pod, split
4 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
24 round vanilla-flavored wafer cookies
a pastry bag a small handheld kitchen torch
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 300 degrees F. Heat the cream and vanilla pod in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Remove from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the egg yolks in a small bowl until pale yellow. Whisk the cream into the egg mixture. Fish out the vanilla pod, scrape out any remaining seeds and whisk them into the custard. Pour the custard into an 8-inch square baking dish.
Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a kitchen towel, and put the custard-filled baking dish on top of it. Transfer the large baking dish to the oven rack, and fill it about halfway with warm water. Bake the custard until it is firm but still wiggles slightly, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 1 hour. (The custard can be made the night before.) Transfer the custard to a pastry bag or large resealable plastic bag, and cut off the tip.
Arrange the cookies, flat bottoms up, on a baking sheet. Pipe a spiral of custard onto each cookie, all the way to the edge. Use a small spatula or the back of spoon to smooth out the custard. Chill for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
When ready to serve, sprinkle each creme brulee generously with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Use a kitchen torch to toast each until the sugar is dark and caramelized. Chill for a few minutes so the custard can thicken slightly, then serve.
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