Heat the cream in the microwave until warm to the touch, about 2 minutes.
Whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until pale in color, about 1 minute. Then, whisk in the vanilla bean paste.
Slowly add the cream while whisking until all of the cream has been incorporated.
If there are any lumps in the mixture, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.
Divide the mixture into 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Cover the ramekins with aluminum foil.
Add the trivet to the instant pot and add just enough water to touch the bottom of the trivet (in my 6-quart Instant Pot, it was about 3/4 cup).
Place as many creme brûlées on the trivet as will fit (in my 6-quart Instant Pot, that was 2).
Attach the lid and ensure the valve is in the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook - Manual for 15 minutes. When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, allow it to release for 10 minutes naturally and then release any remaining pressure manually by switching the valve to the “venting” position.
Repeat with any remaining creme brûlées.
Allow the creme brûlées to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then, transfer them to the fridge to chill (at least 4 hours but overnight is preferred).
Add 1/2 tablespoon to each creme brûlée and gently melt it with a kitchen torch. Allow the first sugar layer to harden (about 1 minute) and repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
Garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream (both optional). Serve immediately.
Make sure to use cream in this recipe as milk won’t thicken enough to set. Save the egg whites for meringues or omelets!
If you don’t have vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract will work as well.
I like to brûlée the sugar in two batches to ensure that it creates a nice crust that doesn’t burn. Trust me, it works!
Using your oven’s broiler is not a great way to brûlée sugar; it’s uneven, and it can burn too easily! Kitchen touches are inexpensive and available at most kitchen supply stores; I highly recommend using one for creme brûlée!