I have a problem with consistency. Obviously. This is the second time I have let more than two weeks go by with out a post. I, of course, have loads of excuses, but not even one of them is entertaining, so I’ll just get on with it.
I just can’t seem to stop talking about David Lebovitz, but this coffee creme brûlée proves that the man is a dessert genius…is that a thing? I have every one of his cookbooks, and am not sure if you could force me to choose a favorite. (No real surprise there-I have lots of favorite cookbooks.) But lately, like everyone else, I’ve been working my way through My Paris Kitchen (remember that yummy French Onion Soup?) and I have not been disappointed. Our kitchen has been filled with onion tarts, gazpacho with herbed goat cheese toasts, coq a vin, and caramel pork ribs. Seriously, if you don’t already own this book, now is the time.
So, Coffee Creme Brûlée. Ok, I’m pretty sure I can just go home now. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said, right?
Creme Brûlée is actually way simpler to make than you might expect, and this recipe is perfectly creamy with a slightly lighter and more delicate texture than what you sometimes find in a restaurant. I “adapted” it ever so slightly, by which I mean, I didn’t have kahlua, so I used brandy.
As I mentioned, this coffee creme brûlée is light and creamy, the perfect end to a special meal. You can serve it in special Creme Brûlée Dishes (which are wide and shallow to allow for the maximum amount of caramelized sugar on top), or in small ramekins. I used a cooking torch to caramelize the sugar, but if you search the web there is plenty of advice on how to make creme brûlée without one. Technically, you could make a (very light) custard from only milk, without any cream, but it would likely be too light and probably turn into a soup by the time you torch the sugar on top. David Lebovitz’s recipe already had replaced some of the cream from a traditional creme brûlée recipe with milk, so be careful playing with the ratios in this one. My only other advice is to make sure that the individual coffee creme brûlées are completely chilled and that you keep the torch moving when you’re caramelizing the sugar, otherwise the custard might warm up and get a little too soft.
- 1⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder
- 2 teaspoons of brandy
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, stir together cream, milk, sugar and salt. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- In a medium sized bowl, use a fork or a whisk to combine the egg yolks. Slowly add the cream and sugar to the egg yolks, striking constantly. Mix in the espresso powder.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, and stir in the brandy.
- Set four wide creme brûlée dishes (you could also use ramekins) on a large pan. If the pan has high sides, all the better. I used a regular sheet pan, which was sufficient for my creme brûlée dishes.
- Divide the cream mixture between the dishes. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come half way up the sides of the creme brûlée dishes. Bake for about 25 minutes, until they are set.
- Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely before covering with plastic wrap and moving to the refrigerator. (Don't forget, the water in the pan is HOT!)
- Right before you are ready to serve them, evenly sprinkle the top of each custard with a heaping teaspoon of sugar. Using a torch, heat the sugar on each custard until it starts to bubble and become brown. Serve immediately.