I've caramelised thousands of creme brulees and I find that these points will help you.
1) Dry your custard surface of water/condensation
2) Use caster/ demerara sugar that is dry (not clumpy from moisture/humidity)
3) Put a spoonful of sugar in the middle; swirl ramekin or you can turn the ramekin in your hand and tap the side with your finger.
You want an even layer of sugar
4) Before you use a torch, it is important to understand the following concept.
: Familiarise yourself with how water boils ; the point where it turns from liquid to gas.
- In the same way, Sugar will melt from the heat of the torch. At the point there are bubbles, it is the point before it burns. (Ie - Water to gas)
5) With a blowtorch, what i feel works best is to use the hottest/strongest flame and to hit the sugar as close to the surface as possible.
- With reference to point 4, you take away the heat when your caramel starts bubbling. As that is the furthest point u can take your sugar before it becoming totally burnt.
6) Moving the torch in a circular motion, you should end up with a fabulous caramelised sugar crust that cracks. ( And yes. it only cracks when the top has cooled down adequately - Patience is difficult at this time but oh so worth it when u crack through into an amazing lush custard)
7) Time is of essence as too much heat for too long will heat up the custard beneath. You want it to be slightly warm on the caramel layer and a cool custard.