Coffee Crème Brûlée

Coffee crème brûlée – a lovely creamy coffee custard topped with caramelized sugar. This recipe gives two methods of creating the caramelized topping, with or without using a chef’s blowtorch.

Coffee Crème Brûlée

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 30–45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on the day of serving
  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter for greasing
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules or coffee extract
  • For the topping
  • 4 tbsp golden caster/granulated sugar*, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100 g (3½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch


  • * Superfine sugar is finer than caster sugar and begins to melt too quickly if using a chef's blowtorch. Granulated sugar in North America, which is finer than English granulated sugar, works better.


  • You will also need 6 × 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins

  • Method
  • For the custard
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas 3).

  • Lightly grease the ramekins with butter and set to one side.

  • Line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (this prevents them from slipping).

  • Then have a kettle of boiling water ready.

  • Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding.

  • Remove from the heat and add the coffee granules stirring until dissolved, or just stir in the coffee extract.
  • Leave to cool a little.

  • Meanwhile put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together.

  • Gradually stir the cream into the egg mixture, until they are combined.
  • Strain the custard into a jug and then divide amongst the six ramekins.

  • Now carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it.

  • Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.

  • Then take the ramekins out of the water, cover the dishes, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  • Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  • Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  • Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  • For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  • First, have a piece of parchment paper ready on the counter top.

  • Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar.

  • Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved.

  • Then increase the heat to medium–high and, without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour it will be ready.

  • Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.

  • Now turn the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot.

  • The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules, finer than caster sugar (just like superfine sugar).

  • Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  • Put the ramekins on a baking sheet as close to the heat as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.
  • Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
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Updated: November 4, 2019

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