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Coffee Crème Brûlée

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 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

Recipe Notes

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.