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
- Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours
- Cooking time: 25 minutes
- For the custard
- butter, for greasing
- 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
- 45g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 300ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
- 300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
- 3 tsp instant coffee granules or coffee essence
- For the topping
- 2–3 tbsp golden caster/white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
- 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch
- 6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins
- For the custard
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
- Lightly grease the ramekins with the butter and set to one side.
- Put the egg yolks into a large bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk with a balloon whisk to combine. Set to one side.
- Pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and add the coffee granules, stirring until dissolved, or stir in the coffee essence. Leave to cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking with the balloon whisk until blended. Strain the custard and divide between the six ramekins.
- Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, 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 slipping). Carefully pour enough boiling water into the dish or pan/tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekin dishes.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes. The custard needs to still wobble slightly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the water. Take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- For the topping using a chef’s blowtorch
- Sprinkle a thin layer 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, 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. 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.
- The caramel will harden 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). Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.
- Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
- 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.
- Leave to cool then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
Updated: November 20, 2017