Pour the cream into a medium saucepan and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream, along with the pod. Place over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan and immediately remove from the heat. Let custard mixture cool to room temperature, then remove the vanilla pod.
Preheat oven to 275°.
In a medium bowl, briskly whisk the egg yolks until pale in color, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in the 1/3 cup sugar until dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Gently whisk in the cream, taking care to not overbeat. You don’t want to see bubbles form.
Stir in the almond extract. *The recipe we adapted this from called for 2 teaspoons of almond. While we liked it because we love almond, we felt that the almond was overpowering.
Place 6 crème brûlée dishes in a deep baking pan.
Divide the custard mixture evenly between the 6 dishes, there should be at least 1/4’’ of head space for the sugar topping. (Do not add the sugar at this point.)
Place the pan in the over the gently pour 4-5 cups of warm water or enough water for it to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.
Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes (32 minutes for my oven), or until the center of each custard jiggles just slightly.
Remove from the oven and lift the dishes from the hot water. Or you can open the over, pull out the rack a few inches and remove the individual crème brûlée pans out of the pan with hot water. Then remove the pan, this might help you eliminate water spillage onto the floor and your crème brûlées.
Let them cool until about room temperature approximately 15 minutes.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
About 15-20 minutes before you want to serve evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over each custard.
Using a hand-held torch, caramelize the top by slowly working around the entire brûlée, making sure to cover the entire thing. To help you achieve a perfect crust hold the torch about 1/2 inch away from the sugar.
Return to the fridge for 10-12 minutes to chill the brûlée.
I don’t like mine warm but if you do prefer it this way by all means dig in NOW. (Smile)