Put the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and mix well.
Warm the milk and cream together in a pan over low heat until warm to the touch.
Mix the warmed milk and cream a little at a time into the bowl from Step 1. Mix in the vanilla beans as well.
Pour the mixture into the ramekins through a tea strainer.
Line the ramekins on a tray and fill with boiling water until about halfway up the ramekins. Slowly steam for 50 minutes in the oven at 130℃.
Once the crème brûlées are cooked enough so that the surface stays intact when the ramekin is tilted, take out of the oven. Leave to cool then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Once chilled enough, completely cover the surface of the crème brûlées with granulated sugar. If you can see any of the pudding underneath, it will burn so be careful.
Slowly brown the surface with a blow torch. If it looks like it's going to burn before the sugar dissolves, give the surface 2 sprays of water.
If you don't have a blow torch, you could use the grill of a gas cooker, just make sure to keep an eye on the colour. You can also try making the crunchy caramel in a frying pan.
When you've chilled it once more in the fridge, they're ready.
The crème brûlée should keep its form when scooped out with a spoon but melts in your mouth.
I tried lots of different ways of creating the crunchy caramel surface. From left to right are the blow torch, grill and frying pan versions.
How to make the crunchy caramel in a frying pan:
For each ramekins, add 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar to the frying pan. It's best to make each one separately.
As you're tilting the frying pan, melt the sugar over a medium strong heat.
Once lightly browned, pour into the ramekin and swirl around so that it covers the entire surface of the pudding.
It won't have the scorched colour but will still result in a fantastic crunchy caramel.
Story Behind this Recipe
I just wanted to eat a crème brûlée how I like (not too sweet and something that holds its shape on the spoon but melts in the mouth). I even bought a blow torch especially for it.
Steam in an oven at a low temperature. The baking time varies on your oven so adjust accordingly. For the caramel, I tried different types of sugar like light brown and brown, but granulated came out looking the best.