No oven time or fussy water bath for this streamlined dessert. It pairs traditional eggnog spices with decadent dark chocolate and is fully cooked on the stovetop. Finish with a kitchen torch for the customary caramelized topping.
In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in milk, cream, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil, then cook 1 minute more. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Add chocolate and brandy, stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Divide among 8 to 10 small ramekins or heatproof bowls. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or, covered with plastic wrap, up to 2 days. (If making ahead, do not cover until cold, to prevent condensation.)
Sprinkle tops generously with sugar, tilting ramekins to evenly distribute. Slowly wave a kitchen torch approximately 2 inches above surface of each custard until sugar bubbles, turns amber, and forms a hard crust; serve.
Get a head start by completing step 1 and refrigerating the ramekins for up to two days.To get a perfectly crackly, caramelized top, we sprinkle on sugar and use the Iwatani Chef torch, which has a wide flame for quick, even toasting.