We combine the milk and cream in a large pot and heat it over medium heat. We bring it to a simmer, and then switch the pot to an unheated burner to wait while we make the caramel in a pan.
In a large pan we melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, we stir in the brown sugar with our heat-safe spatula. We raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. We want the butter and sugar to make a nutty smelling caramel colored mix.
When the caramel mixture is ready, we gradually whisk it into the milk-cream that we set aside. It is difficult to prevent lumps—even though we whisk furiously. Our immersion blender is plastic, and since we know caramel is very hot, we take the precaution of first pouring the mixture into a large bowl and then we use the immersion blender to try and get the mixture smooth.
As an added precaution, we hold a fine strainer over a large measuring cup to strain the liquid. We start off just straining about a cup of it. We add ½ cup of the strained liquid to the egg yolk bowl, whisking well. We also add the cornstarch and salt to the medium-sized bowl and whisk to dissolve.
We pour the rest of the strained liquid from the measuring cup, as well as straining the rest of the mixture from the large bowl, and the egg yolk mixture that is in the medium bowl, back into the large pot.
We continue to cook the pudding, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat. We want it to start to boil and to be nice and thick.
While the mixture is heating, (and we’re whisking!), we also get the ramekins and individual dishes lined up on the counter. We rinse out the large measuring cup.
When the pudding is boiling, the heat is turned off, the pot moved to a cool part of the stove, and the vanilla stirred in.
Using a ladle, we put some of the pudding into the measuring cup and then pour it into our collection of 4 individual dishes and 3 ramekins.
We let the puddings cool at room temperature for 10 minutes and then refrigerate uncovered. We want them cold which will take at least 2 hours, but we will make the brûlées tomorrow!
To make the brûlées, we coat the top of each pudding with about a teaspoon of the coarse turbinado sugar, as evenly as we can. We turn on our kitchen propane torch and hold the flame over the sugar, making circling motions, as the flame melts the sugar and starts to brown it. When nicely browned all over the top, we set the dish aside and continue with the rest. We serve right away!