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
Prepares: 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
40g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) single cream/table cream (1¼ cups)

  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
3 tsp instant coffee granules or coffee essence

  • For the topping
  • 4 tbsp golden caster, granulated sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100g (3½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • Note: If using a blowtorch, superfine sugar is finer than caster sugar and begins to melt too quickly once it is spooned onto the custard. Granulated sugar works better.

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

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

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

  5. 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).

  6. Then have a kettle of boiling water ready.

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

  8. Remove from the heat and add the coffee granules stirring until dissolved, or just stir in the coffee essence.

  9. Leave to cool a little.

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

  11. Gradually pour the cream into the bowl, while whisking at the same time, until the cream is blended into the egg mixture.

  12. Strain the custard into a jug and then divide amongst the six ramekins.

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

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

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

  16. Then take the ramekins out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  17. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  18. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  19. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

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

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

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

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

  25. 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.

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

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

  28. 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).

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

  30. Put the ramekins on a baking tray 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.

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

Updated: November 4, 2019

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