1/2cupsuperfine sugargranulated sugar can be used here but may increase cooking time
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream, vanilla and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat (cream will begin to steam) then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla beans and stir into the cream. Rinse the empty beans and reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining granulated sugar until pale and frothy. While whisking, ladle 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the eggs until combined. Slowly add another 1/4 cup of the cream to the egg mixture to combine. (This step tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when you mix them into the cream.)
Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the cream mixture until thoroughly combined.
Arrange 6 6-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Divide the cream mixture evenly among the ramekins and place the baking sheet on the oven rack.
Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins (BE SURE NOT to splash any water into the ramekins....POUR SLOWLY.)
Bake the custards for 50 minutes or until just set. (They will still be a little jiggly in the center...like a cheesecake)
Cool the custards to room temperature then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle the custard with the superfine sugar and melt the sugar with a kitchen torch until caramelized. Alternatively, you can melt the sugar by placing the custard under the broiler until caramelized.
Top with fruit, if desired. Serve immediately.
Custards can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator wrapped lightly with plastic wrap.