Creamy vanilla custard baked until set, then topped with a caramelized sugar topping.
Preheat the oven to 320°F. Bring a kettle full of water to a boil. Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan, warm the cream just until it's beginning to simmer along the edges of the pan. Don't let the cream boil! Stir in the vanilla bean paste once the cream is warm. Turn the heat off.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the granulated sugar together until thick and pale. Stream in 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking vigorously as you do. Continue to stream in another 1/4 cup, again whisking the entire time. Pour in the rest of the hot cream and whisk until everything is blended together.
Use a ladle to distribute the batter among 5 (6 oz.) ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large casserole dish and place the dish in the oven. Use the kettle spout to pour the hot water into the casserole dish, pouring enough water so that the water almost reaches the top of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water into the ramekins.
Bake the custard for 1 hour just until the centers are slightly wobbly. If needed, after 1 hour, raise the heat to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes until you've achieved the desired doneness. Remove the ramekins from the casserole dish and let them cool to room temperature. Wrap the ramekins tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
To brulee, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the turbinado sugar over each frozen creme brulee. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet under the oven broiler (500°F) for about 1 minute, constantly checking it and rotating the pan so that all of them are evenly bruleed. Let the burnt sugar topping set for a few minutes before serving.
If you decide to make this recipe for 2 people, divide the recipe in half and use 8 oz. ramekins.