Alton Brown, host of Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America, has an excellent recipe for creme brulee on FoodNetwork.com. To begin, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put 1 quart heavy cream and 1 split and scraped vanilla bean into a saucepan, over medium-high heat, bringing to a boil.
After the mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Take the vanilla bean out and either discard or save it for another use. Whisk 1/2 cup vanilla sugar and 6 large egg yolks until thoroughly blended and barely lightened in color. Add the cream mixture gradually, stirring the entire time. Pour the liquid into 6 8-ounce ramekins, and place those in a large cake pan. Surround the ramekins about halfway up the sides with hot water.
Bake to set the creme brulee, but make sure they still move a bit in the center. This should take about 40 minutes. Put the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least two hours. About 30 minutes before browning the sugar on top with a propane torch, take the ramekins out of the refrigerator. Spread 1/2 cup vanilla sugar evenly among all six of the dishes. Use the torch to melt the sugar and create a crispy covering. Let the creme brulee sit for a minimum of five minutes before serving.