Having made creme brulee plenty of times with a torch, and a few times under a broiler, I knew that the proposition -- lowering a super-heated (cast-iron) salamander onto sugar to be caramelized -- probably would work. I didn't even balk at paying $30 for two enameled cast-iron ramekins and a burger-patty-sized disc of cast iron (whose total cost to manufacture might well be under $5).
But no, it wasn't to be. In fact, it was a disaster.
. . . Sugar around the disc's edges did turn a perfect color and consistency, but half the sugar under the disc only browned a tad, and the other half stuck to the bottom of the disc.
The moral of the story is to stick with a blow torch if you want to make creme brulee at home. Or, better yet, have a restaurant chef prepare it for you.