Coffee Crème Brûlée
Prep: 1 hour | Cooking: 20-35 minutes depending on dish – see step 6 below | Oven: 150 °C / 300 °F
Acknowledgment: Kudos to Leite’s Culinaria
- 1 1/3 cups (330 milliliters) heavy cream
- 2/3 cup (160 milliliters) whole or low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for caramelizing
- Pinch sea salt or kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder
- 2 teaspoons Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) if using gratin dishes or 325ºF (160ºC) if using ramekins or custard cups.
- Place 4 individual gratin dishes on a high-rimmed baking sheet (also known as a jellyroll pan) or in a roasting pan big enough to hold them. For those of you who don’t own gratin dishes, you can use six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream, milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves, which shouldn’t take long at all.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
- Gradually add the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks in a steady stream, stirring with the whisk (but not too vigorously as you don’t want to create foam), until the cream is completely incorporated. Mix in the espresso or coffee powder and strain the mixture into a large measuring cup, or another vessel with a spout, then stir in the Kahlúa. Divide the mixture among the gratin dishes, ramekins, or custard cups.
- If using gratin dishes, place the pan of custards on the oven rack and pour enough hot water into the pan so that it reaches at least halfway up the sides of the gratin dishes. Bake the custards for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are just set; watch them very carefully during the final few minutes of baking. If using ramekins or custard cups, the dishes will not be filled completely, and that’s perfect. Snugly cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and bake the custards for 30 to 35 minutes. When you jiggle the pan, they should just barely quiver.
- Remove the dishes from the pan and set them on a cooling rack. (A wide metal spatula works well for lifting the hot custards from the water; be careful, as the custards are hot.) Let the custards cool to room temperature. Then loosely cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with an even layer of sugar. It should be enough to cover the top, but not too heavily—1 1/2 teaspoons for each crème brûlée is about right. Using a blowtorch, wave the flame over each custard, 1 at a time, until the sugar melts and then browns. You may need to lift and tilt the dishes so that the caramel flows evenly across the top. If so, be extremely careful because the caramel is very hot and any drips will cause a painful burn. Serve immediately.