To make 12 six-ounce servings:
For the Caramel:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
For the crème:
7 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dark rum
8 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375°.
Boil together without stirring the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and the 1/2 cup of water over medium heat until reaching the caramelization stage (about 10 minutes) — should be golden, not pale or dark. Pour equal amounts into 12 oven-proof ramekins.
Scald 7 1/2 cups of milk and the rum. Allow to cool and then remove the skin.
Put the 10 eggs, the 8 egg yolks, the scalded milk and 1 1/3 cups of sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat together until well mixed. Do not over-beat!
Pour equal amounts of the crème mixture into the 12 ramekins over the caramel layer.
Put the ramekins in a deep oven-proof dish. Pour warm water into the dish up to half the height of the ramekins. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until a sharp-pointed knife inserted in the crème comes out clean. Do not over-bake! The tops should be yellow not brown.
Allow to cool completely and then refrigerate.
When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin, deep enough to release the crème. Put the serving plate on top of the ramekin, turn upside down and then shake until the crème is released onto the plate.