I am a big fan of coffee, an even bigger fan of caramel, and these two flavors together really make me happy. This coffee-caramel Crème Brûlée and reminds me of a rich caramel cappuccino. I could eat this every day but generally save it for special occasions.
Crème Brûlée sounds intimidating but it’s really not. The tricky part is making sure that your custard does not cook when adding the hot cream to the egg yolks. Once past that part, it is relatively smooth sailing.
The caramelization of the sugary top can be done in your oven’s broiler. But it is more fun to use a kitchen torch.
More fun than that is going to Home Depot and discussing the pros and cons of different blow torches with the knowledgeable sales staff .
“Exactly what do you plan to use this blow torch for?” the kind salesman finally asked after several minutes of deliberation.
“Crème Brûlée, of course.”
And then we laughed all the way home.
Coffee-Caramel Crème Brûlée
by Sarah Patterson Scott, Bon Appétit, March 2009
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup dark-roast coffee beans (such as French roast; about 3/4 ounce), crushed with mallet in plastic bag
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
2 cups half and half
8 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons raw sugar
Bring 1 cup cream and coffee beans to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Stir 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 11 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Add remaining 1 cup whipping cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel is smooth. Stir in half and half. Strain coffee-infused cream into caramel cream; discard coffee beans in strainer.
Whisk yolks, salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain custard into large measuring cup.
Arrange eight 2/3-to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups in roasting pan. Divide custard among ramekins. Add enough warm water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins or custard cups.
Bake custards until just set in center, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer custards from water bath directly to refrigerator. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Sprinkle top of each custard with 1 teaspoon raw sugar. Using kitchen torch, melt sugar on each custard until deep amber. (Alternatively, preheat broiler. Arrange custards on small rimmed baking sheet; broil until sugar topping melts and browns, about 2 minutes.)
Refrigerate custards until sugar topping hardens, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour (do not chill longer than 1 hour or topping will start to soften). Serve custards cold.