Preheat oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit. Place six 6-ounce ramekins into the bottom of a 9x13 pan or roasting pan.
In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together egg yolks and sugar until smooth and velvety, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour in heavy cream and vanilla extract. If using vanilla bean pod, split open lengthwise and scrape seeds directly into egg mixture. Beat on low until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
Strain custard through a fine mesh strainer to remove any egg chunks. Then pour into prepared ramekins, filling each 1/4-inch from the top. Pour hot tap water into pan to surround the ramekins with water 1/2-inch deep. Be careful not to get any water into the custard.
Carefully transfer pan to the oven. Bake in the preheated 300 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until set.
Carefully remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack. Let the custards cool slowly in the pan with the water until completely cooled. Remove ramekins from water, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 4 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle a scant 1 tablespoon of superfine* sugar over each one. Use a kitchen torch to melt sugar until caramelized, or place ramekins 2-3 inches under the broiler setting of your oven and broil 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully, until sugar is caramelized with a deep brown color.
Cooked custard can be stored in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. Always caramelize additional sugar just before serving.
If you don't have superfine sugar, you can use regular sugar or even brown sugar instead. Superfine sugar simply melts more quickly and evenly due to its small crystal size.
The ideal ramekin size for creme brulee is 6 ounces. These dishes have a diameter of approximately 4.8 inches, and are 1.1 inches deep. Other sizes can also be used. Cooking time is determined by the depth of the liquid.