Preheat oven to 160C. Bring Sauternes to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add cream, cinnamon, vanilla bean and vanilla seeds and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, stand to infuse (30 minutes), then return to the simmer over medium-high heat.
Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl to combine, add cream mixture through a sieve (discard solids) and whisk to combine. Skim bubbles from surface and pour into a 1-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Place dish in a roasting pan lined with a tea towel, pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of dish, cover with foil and bake until custard is set but has a slight wobble in the centre (40-50 minutes). Remove custard from water bath and refrigerate until well chilled (4 hours).
For Sauternes apples, stir Sauternes, sugar, Calvados, orange rind and lemon rind in a deep-sided frying pan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until a light syrup forms (7-8 minutes). Add apple slices in a single layer, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, turning apples occasionally in syrup, until tender (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and keep warm.
Just before serving, place custard in the freezer for 20 minutes. For cinnamon sugar, combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then scatter half in a thin, even layer over custard. Caramelise with a blowtorch, stand to crisp (5 minutes), then repeat with remaining sugar mixture. Serve crème brûlée with warm Sauternes apples.
This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.