50g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping
Preheat the oven to fan 160C.
Sit four ramekins in a deep roasting tin (or a large deep cake tin) – one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin.
Pour the cream into a medium pan with the milk.
Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two – mind your fingers!
Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.
Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for about 1 minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and fluffy.
Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk, scraping out the seeds from the pan.
Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot mixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off the foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid.
Stir the mixture.
Pour in enough hot water, into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins.
Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier to spoon in the last little bit.
Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set – To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the creme brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle.
Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely.
When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover
Spray with a little water using a fine spray to just dampen the sugar – then use a blow torch to caramelise it.
Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.