six 1-by-5-inch creme brulee ramekins (1 cup each); a kitchen blowtorch
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put six 1-by-5-inch creme brulee ramekins (1 cup each) in a roasting pan.
Combine the heavy cream and vanilla pod and seeds in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, dark brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add the cream mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly. Transfer the egg mixture to the ramekins. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custard until set but still a little jiggly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then remove from the water bath. Refrigerate the ramekins for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
To serve: Sprinkle the top of each custard with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Using a kitchen blowtorch, melt the sugar, swirling the ramekins as needed to make sure the sugar is evenly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Follow torch manufacturer's instructions for use.
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