Individual Chocolate-Fudge Cakes with Saffron-Scented Oranges

Unfortunately the picture doesn't show just how petite and adorable this little tartelette dish is; upon reflection I probably should have put a spoon next to it for comparison.  It's about 2 inches in diameter, making it the perfect size if you want a chocolate dessert (with a spectacular orange kick) but don't want to make a whole tart or pie. 
Earlier in the day before making these tartelettes, I had ventured over to an amazing spice store in the Marais area of Paris called Goumanyat.  It's truly a remarkable place, by far one of the most comprehensive spice stores I've ever been to, with racks and racks of all imaginable variations of spices, herbs, blends, and sauces.  I limited myself to what I felt was most necessary, an extremely difficult task, and returned home with ground coriander, a beautiful herbes de provence blend, and a package of saffron threads imported from Iran.

The blend of oranges and saffron is fascinating to me, because of its vibrant color, unique fragrance, and earthy yet potent flavor.  The recipe makes enough batter for two tartelettes, and you can store them in the fridge, cooked, for up to a week.  If you don't have a tartelette dish, a ramekin will work just as well. 

Individual Chocolate-Fudge Cakes with Saffron-Scented Oranges - makes 2 individual-sized pies

Note: The saffron oranges taste wonderful on their own or on top of ice cream, panna cotta, or yogurt - feel free to experiment.

for the saffron oranges:
1 knob of butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 orange, peeled, divided into segments, with segment skins removed
1-2 saffron threads, diluted in 1 tbsp warm water (dilute for about 15 minutes)

for the fudge:
1 1/2 tbsp whole milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 65% chocolate)
1/2 of an egg
3 tbsp sugar
pinch salt
1/8-tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare the oranges:
1.  Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once starting to bubble, add orange segments, sugar, and saffron water. 
2.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened into a syrup, about 12 minutes.
To make the fudge and tarts:
3.  Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
4.  Add the chocolate to a small bowl; when the milk has begun to boil, pour it over the chocolate and stir gently to combine.
5.  Whisk the egg vigorously to combine; pour half of the egg in with the chocolate and mlik, along with the sugar, salt, and vanilla, whisking gently until combined. Discard the remaining half of the egg.
6.  Divide batter between two tartelette pans or two ramekins so the batter reaches just below the top edge; gently drop 3 or 4 teaspoon-fulls of the orange segments into the batter;  reserve any remaining orange sauce.
7.  Bake tartelettes until center is just set, about 10-12 minutes.
8.  Let cool slightly; serve with additional orange sauce.


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