Well, hello. Oooof. It’s been a while. So long that it feels clunky and strange typing this and a bit like I’m starting a brand new project. In all truth, I developed this recipe for coffee crème brûlée and shot it wayyyy back in the first week of 2019. Last year threw some personal curveballs early on and then kept on throwing. And then 2020, well we all know what 2020’s been up to. Hope you’re hanging in there.
This week I decided that it’s time to give this coffee crème brûlée its fair due, so I finally found the images and wrote it up. It may not be a particularly seasonal recipe but I promise you that it is a particularly delicious recipe.
Coffee crème brûlée numbers among my favorite desserts. When I was living in the U.K., I went for a job interview at a bakery and the interviewer asked me, “what’s your favorite dessert?”. This place was known for cakes and the odd tart or pastry. I knew that they were known for cakes and the odd tart or pastry. So, of course, I answered earnestly, “crème brûlée”. Read the room, Katie.
Nothing has changed. Give me perfectly smooth custard with a shattering, burnt sugar crust any day. Add in a little coffee and you’ve got a simple, dreamy dessert that you can mostly make ahead and that looks like you tried a lot harder than you did. Minimal effort that feels fancy. Something we could all use a little bit of right now. So maybe this is actually the perfect season for this crème brûlée, you know?
If you like this recipe for Coffee Crème Brûlée you might also like:
Coffee Crème Brûlée
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsps espresso powder
- pinch sea salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsps turbinado, or demerara, sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and adjust oven rack to lower middle.
2. Stir together the cream, sugar, espresso powder, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. While it sits, get a baking dish with high sides that will fit four 5-ounce ramekins. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of the baking dish and place the ramekins on top of it. Boil a kettle of water.
3. After the cream mixture has sat, stir in the milk. Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Whisk about 1/3 of the cream mixture into the egg yolks until combined. Repeat with half of the remaining cream mixture. Then whisk in the last of the cream mixture until everything is combined. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl or a large enough measuring cup. Pour evenly into the ramekins.
4. Place the baking dish in the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the dish. Make sure you don’t splash any water into the crème brulee. You want the water to come 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until centers are barely set, not super jiggly, and an instant thermometer reads 170-175°F. This should take about 30 minutes but start checking the temperature around 25 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the crème brulees from the pan and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (If you want to make the crème brulees and eat them the same day, just make sure you chill them in the fridge at least 4 hours!).
6. Uncover ramekins and sprinkle the two tablespoons of turbinado evenly over the tops of the four custards. Using a kitchen torch, move slowly and evenly over sugar until it melts and caramelizes. Put the ramekins (uncovered) back in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes, then serve.