6 toasted walnut halves, for garnish
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup mashed very ripe banana
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
5 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Set out 6 6-ounce custard cups and a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
In an 11-inch skillet set over medium heat, pour the 1 cup of granulated sugar and shake the skillet to distribute sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. When the sugar begins to melt, shake the pan as needed to keep the sugar evenly covering the bottom of the skillet. In approximately 6 minutes the sugar in center of pan should begin to turn golden. At this point, stir sugar with a wooden spoon just often enough to maintain an even golden color. Continue shaking the skillet allowing the sugar to melt between stirrings.
As soon as the sugar is completely melted and has an amber color, spoon 1 tablespoonful into each of the custard cups; tilt to coat bottoms of cups. Set the cups in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan; set aside.
Place the banana in a blender with the half-cup of granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and the cream; process about 5 seconds or just until smooth. Add the eggs and process about another 5 seconds but only until thoroughly blended but not until foamy. DO NOT OVER PROCESS!
Pour the custard mixture evenly into the sugar-syrup coated custard cups. Add enough water to the 9 x 13-inch pan to reach a depth of 1-inch.
Bake custards uncovered for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. (Or until set and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.)
Carefully remove custard cups from the hot water and cool completely on a wire rack.
Cover custards and chill for at least 8 hours. Run a thin paring knife around the edges of the custards to loosen. Invert onto serving plate; allow the caramel to run down sides. Top each with a toasted walnut half as a garnish.