2 cups heavy cream
3 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3 large egg yolks
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 325ºF. Have a pot of boiling water ready.
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and blended. Cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp. of the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the warm chocolate cream, then stir in the vanilla.
Line a 3-inch-deep baking pan with a kitchen towel and place four 6-oz. ramekins or dessert cups in the pan. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the chocolate mixture among the ramekins. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.
Bake until the custards are just set around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tbsp. sugar evenly over the surface of each custard.
Using a kitchen torch, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar bubbles and just begins to turn golden, 20 to 30 seconds per custard. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Date: July 13, 2002