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"Burnt cream" in French, this classic dessert is a creamy baked custard with a crisp topping of caramelized sugar. The custard is traditionally baked in flat, shallow ceramic dishes, or crème brulee molds, which provide a wide surface area for the topping. The topping is created just before serving by sprinkling the surface of the baked custard with sugar, which is quickly caramelized with a salamander, blowtorch or broiler. The sugar must be caramelized quickly enough to keep the custard from heating. To keep the custard as smooth and light as possible, bake it using a water bath and gentle heat.