One of the first rules of following any recipe is to read the whole thing through before getting started. I was reminded why when, for Valentine's Day, I got to the part of the crème brûlée recipe that said to allow the dessert to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours before finishing it off with the sugar topping. I followed this recipe from Epicurious, minus the berry topping.
Although using a blowtorch in the kitchen sounds like a lot of fun, the broiler worked just fine to achieve the desired crunch (five minutes was the magic number for me). But it's also worth noting that the dessert benefits from another couple hours in the fridge after broiling. John and I ended up eating it warm since it was already late, so it was more like a thick soup than custard (still tasted pretty good, though!). My coworkers enjoyed the leftovers the next day in its more traditional consistency, and it was a big hit.