a few tablespoons organic blonde cane sugar, as needed
1-2smallish blood oranges
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300ºHave ready 2 (6-ounce)or 3 (4-ounce)heatproof ramekins, canning jars, bowls, or cappuccino cups, a small roasting pan, and a piece of aluminum foil. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
Make the chocolate layer:
Place the chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil over a medium flame, swirling the pan occasionally. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk gently until smooth.
Pour the chocolate goodness into the waiting ramekins and place them in the freezer to firm up.
Make the custard:
In the same saucepan, combine the cream, orange zest, and vanilla pod and scrapings. Over a medium flame, heat the mixture, swirling frequently, until small bubbles appear around the sides of the pot and the mixture is hot and steamy. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar and salt to combine. When the cream has steeped, gradually whisk in the hot cream, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a pitcher, pressing on the good stuff to extract the flavor. (You can rinse and dry the vanilla pod and use it to make vanilla extract or sugar.)
Place the chilled, chocolate-bottomed ramekins in the roasting pan, and divide the custard mixture among the ramekins. Cover with the foil, poke a few holes in it, and peel back a corner. Place the whole thing on the oven rack and carefully pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Close the oven door and bake the ramekins until the custards wobble like Jell-o when you give them a jiggle, 25-35 minutes. Be careful not to overbake or the custard will turn grainy; if bubbles appear around the sides of the custards, remove them immediately.
Remove from the oven and let cool until you can remove them from the water, then cool completely. Cover and chill the custards until firm, 2-4 hours or up to 3 days.
Finish the custards:
Sprinkle a chilled custard with enough sugar to coat it in a thin, even layer, about 1 teaspoon. Tilt the ramekin and tap it around to even out the sugar layer if need be. Use a crème brûlée torch held a few inches away from the sugar and pointing straight down to gently caramelize the sugar. If it starts to blacken, pull the torch further away, and use a circular motion to evenly torch the whole top. Now repeat with a second teaspoon of sugar; this will make a thick lid that is pleasing to crack. Repeat with the remaining crème brûlée(s). Chill for 10-20 minutes to harden the lid and cool the custard back down.
Meanwhile, cut the ends off of the blood oranges and place one cut-side-down in a cutting board. Use a sharp knife (I like a serrated knifto pare away the peel and white pith, following the curve of the orange. When the pith is removed, turn the orange on its side and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
Place 2-3 rounds atop each crème brûlée, sprinkle them with another teaspoon of sugar, and torch the sugar with the crème brûlée torch. Serve immediately.
This recipe makes a petite batch of crème brûlée, serving 2-3. If you don't have individual 4-6 ounce baking dishes, small canning jars can be used to good effect.A kitchen torch makes these a breeze, but you can try sticking these a few inches under the broiler, watching them like a hawk to prevent scorching. Or you can skip the sugar lids altogether for a divine layered pot de crème situation.The custards can be cooked and stored, covered tightly, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Torch them to order, bien sûr. Nutritional values are based on one of two servings.