1vanilla bean, split and scraped, see Recipe Notes
6large egg yolks
⅓cupgranulated sugar, see Recipe Notes
For the burnt sugar crust
Decide how many 4-oz ramekins will fit in your slow cooker (in my 6 qt model, I could fit four). Line the slow cooker with a kitchen towel, thick potholders, or create individual foil rings for each ramekin you'll be using. The idea is to keep the ramekins from directly touching the bottom of the crockpot.
Place the empty ramekins in the crockpot and measure enough water for it to be halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Remove the ramekins and set aside.
Combine the cream and milk in a medium mixing bowl, preferably one with a spout. Add the vanilla bean seeds and whisk well. Add the egg yolks and sugar, whisking well.
Pour the custard base into the ramekins about ¾ full. Carefully transfer the filled ramekins to the slow cooker. Drape two paper towels on the rim of the slow cooker to keep condensation from building.
Cook the custards on LOW for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the centers are just set with a slight jiggle in the middle.
Remove from the slow cooker and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 3 hours. If holding longer, cover them with plastic wrap to avoid condensation on the custard’s surface.
When ready to serve, sprinkle about one teaspoon of sugar on the custard's surface and gently spread to cover. Using a chef’s torch, toast the sugar until it’s brown and bubbling (it will harden as it cools. Serve and enjoy!
You can use any combination of cream and milk you’d like. Just know that the more cream you use, the richer the finished custard will be.If desired, replace the vanilla bean with two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.For a sweeter custard, increase the granulated sugar to ½ cup (3½ oz, 100g).In a 6-qt slow cooker, I used about 1 quart of water for the water bath.If you don’t have a chef’s torch (an acceptable way to play with fire, really), place the sugared custards under a broiler about 2- to 3-inches from the heating element. Depending on your broiler, it can take about 5 to 8 minutes for the sugar to bubble so keep a close eye on them.Crème Brûlée can be baked and chilled up to 2 days ahead. Try to make the burnt sugar topping just before serving, if possible.Conventional instructions: If you'd prefer to bake your custards, preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold them all, then add enough water so that the level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Make the custard and fill the ramekins as described in Steps 2 & 3 above, then place the filled ramekins in the water bath. Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, or until the centers are just set with only a slight wiggle in the middle. Proceed with Step 5.