Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger
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8 servings



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk just to the boiling point and remove from the heat. Spread the coffee beans on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven just until they begin to sweat. Add the coffee beans and the vanilla pod to the scalded milk, cover, and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

While the milk is infusing, combine the sugar and the cold water in a small heavy saucepan and, over low heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook until the water has evaporated and the mixture has thickened and turned a pale golden caramel color. Remove from the heat and plunge the bottom of the pan into a basin of cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the hot water to the pan and return to low heat. Stir until the thickened mixture has thinned into a smooth, golden syrup. Set aside.

In the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water, combine the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of the infused milk. Cover the pan and, after a few minutes when the chocolate has softened, work it into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon.

Strain the milk through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, washing and drying the vanilla pod so that it can be reused. Discard the coffee beans. Add the chocolate mixture and the caramel syrup.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs until slightly frothy. Slowly pour in the milk chocolate mixture, gently whisking all the time. Pour the mixture into 8 (4ounce) ramekins and place them in a roasting pan large enough to hold them all without crowding. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water to come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Check the creams to see if they are done by tipping one slightly; the cream should tremble a little but remain firm. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Chill, uncovered for 2 to 3 hours and serve each one on a plate lined with a folded napkin.

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