If you enjoy creamy custards and puddings, you are probably also a fan of creme brulee. This ruch, creamy baked custard is finished with a caramelized sugar coating that proves to be the perfect accompaniment to the decadent custard beneath:
And this time around, I'm sharing a fairly simple coffee-flavored version because I adore coffee for dessert, but not the sleeplessness a cup or two of it at night can bring on. So instead of a cup of joe, I reach for a serving of this wonderful coffee creme brulee because despite being packed with great coffee flavor, it doesn't have nearly the same amount of caffeine as your typical cup of coffee. So I can enjoy it without worrying about losing any sleep over my choices.
Now, creme brulee is something I would not suggest tweaking at all unless you've made a lot of it and understand how it bakes and sets. Besides, this one's just too perfect the way it is. I've been known to make a batch and scoot it to the back of the refrigerator to sneak out for my very own decadent coffee break. I mean, I usually share, but with 4 custard cups made in a batch, it can also make for a really special work week!
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 c. granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 T. instant coffee
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300° F.
In a medium-size bowl, beat the egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of the granulated sugar with a whisk for approximately 1 minute, or until smooth. Reserve.
In a second medium-size bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the cream and the instant coffee until smooth. Add the remaining cream and whisk the mixture until it is well blended. Add the coffee cream mixture and the vanilla to the egg yolks. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold both mixtures together.
Use a ladle to pour the mixture evenly into individual ramekins, 3/4 of the way to the top. Place the ramekins into a baking dish. Transfer the baking dish to the oven. Before closing the oven door, carefully pour water into the pan surrounding the ramekins (but not into them!) until it reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until when you shake the pan, the custards jiggle slightly. Remove them from the oven and leave out on counter, allowing the residual heat of the water to finish the cooking process.
When the custards have fully solidified and cooled down, sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top of each individual portion. Under a watchful eye, use a small blowtorch to caramelize and harden the sugar. Store the custards in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 1 hour