There’s a simple elegance to this dish, light and comforting, at the same time.
Heat ½ cup of sugar in a heavy pan over moderate heat until it melts and browns, stirring it constantly. Add very slowly ½ cup of boiling water, stirring to keep it from boiling over. Simmer the caramel for 2 or 3 minutes and pour into a china or glass baking dish, turning and titling the dish to coat all the inside.
Beat 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks in a bowl with a pinch of salt. 4 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. stir in gradually 1½ cups of hot milk.
Pour this custard into the baking dish. set the dish in a shallow pan of water and bake the custard for 1 hour in a 250° F oven. it will be done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve the crème renversée chilled and turned out on a platter. The caramel will cover it like a sauce.
adapted from The Flavor of France, The Chamberlains