Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy (keep the whites for meringues). Combine the sugar and cold water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove the spoon and boil until the syrup caramelizes to a chestnut-brown. Quickly pour on the hot water. Do not stir. Boil gently until it again becomes a smooth, thick syrup and reaches the ‘thread’ stage, 106–113°C/223°–236 F. It will look thick and syrupy when a spoon is dipped in. Pour this boiling syrup on to the egg yolks in a steady stream whisking all the time. Add the vanilla essence and continue to whisk until it becomes a thick, creamy mousse. Softly whip the cream – it should just hold the print of the whisk. Measure and make sure you have
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