In a very large metal bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla bean until smooth, with a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat in the brandy. Place the bowl on top of a wide saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. You can clip a candy thermometer to the bowl if you wish.
With the hand mixer, whisk the egg mixture until it’s thick and the thermometer tells you it’s about 130°F (54°C) (you can go up to 160°F [70°C], or until it coats the back of a spoon). Never let the advocaat get too much hotter than that, or the eggs will scramble. As it heats, it will become foamy, then fluffy and voluminous, then it will collapse and become more fluid just before it reaches the correct temperature.
As soon as the advocaat is thick enough, remove the bowl from the pan of hot water and place it in a bowl of cold water. Keep whisking the mixture with a hand mixer at the lowest speed, for about 5 minutes. If there are any lumps, just push the custard through a sieve with a rubber spatula into a clean bowl. Let the advocaat cool to room temperature, then pour into a clean covered container and keep in the fridge until ready to use. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge due to its alcohol content.
Serve the advocaat in small glasses or coupes with a small spoon.
Or use it in a dessert. A trifle would be great with advocaat!
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