I recently ate the most awful creme brulee. The chef had tried to be innovative and had mixed fresh pineapple juice with the egg yolks, sugar and cream. The acidity from the pineapple juice had caused the cream to curdle. Plain old vanilla creme brulee is delicious and easy to make. If you want variations on the theme, infuse grated orange zest or fresh ginger into the heated cream, or substitute very strong coffee for about .75 cup of the cream. Custard must be baked in a water bath, which tempers the heat of the oven. For the best proportion of sugar crust to custard, use shallow dishes. A propane torch makes the most even crust, but a grill works well too. Creme Brulee 4 cups heavy cream 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise 8 large egg yolks .75 cup sugar For topping: Soft brown sugar, sieved, if lumpy Castor sugar Heat the cream and vanilla bean in a heavy pan over low flame until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally. Remove vanilla bean and scrape out seeds, then stir them back into the cream. Stir together egg yolks and sugar. With a wooden spoon, stir the cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Pour through a fine sieve. Ladle gently into shallow ramekins or bowls: try not to let any bubbles form. Place ramekins in a slightly deeper pan. Pour water into the pan, until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins: take care that water doesn't splash into the custard. Bake in 150 degree Celsius oven until set. Remove from water bath and cool completely. Wrap individually with plastic wrap, then chill. Just before serving, mix together equal amounts of brown sugar and castor sugar. Spread custards with a thin, even coating of sugar, and burn with a propane torch or under a pre-heated grill.