First make the caramel:
In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar over medium-high heat, swirling the pan until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Stir and let it boil undisturbed until the caramel is deep amber in color, about 5 minutes. Immediately remove pan from heat and pour the caramel into ramekins or baking dish. Coax the caramel about half an inch up to the sides. Set aside and let the caramel harden.
For the Custard:
Mix the following ingredients in the blender until well combined:
- 7 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 medium orange
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup half & half or light cream
- 1 cup sugar
Pour the custard into the prepared baking dish or ramekins and transfer them to a roasting pan.
Fill a tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Pour the hot water into the roasting pan, around the baking dish or ramekins, until it comes about one third up the sides.
Bake the Crème Caramel in water bath until it is set and golden on top, about 45 minutes.
Remove dish from water bath and let it cool for an hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
To unmold, run a thin knife along the sides of the baking dish, invert a platter on top and flip over to turn out the custard.