Preheat oven to 350F. Wash and thoroughly dry four 2oz ramekins.
Put the eggs and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl, and mix with a hand mixer until the sugar has dissolved. Add milk and vanilla, and mix again until homogeneous.
Caramelize 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan on the stove for approximately 5 minutes. One by one, fill each ramekin with a quarter of the caramelized sugar. Spread the caramel very quickly and evenly, with swift circular motions. Your goal is to have a uniform layer of caramel both on the bottom and on the walls of the ramekins. Place coarsely chopped hazelnuts on the bottom of the ramekins (optional).
Divide the egg, sugar & milk mixture evenly among the caramel coated ramekins, leaving 1/2in top margin uncovered. Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly caramel appears on the margins. Take the ramekins out of the oven and cool slightly. Serve with fresh seasonal fruit and roasted chopped nuts of your choice.