- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 4 ounces half and half
- 140 grams medium roast coffee beans, crushed or coarsely ground
- 28 ounces heavy cream
- 3.6 ounces egg yolk, about 6 - 7 egg yolks
- 100 grams sugar
- 4 tablespoons coffee liqueur
- 4 ounces chocolate
Serve with coarsely chopped square of chocolate and fresh blackberries.
*Note on serving size: This makes quite a lot of coffee custard. If you'd prefer to make way less, this recipe condenses very well. In fact, I divided it all the way down to producing just two servings for one experiment.
Prep: 25 - 30 minutes Coffee Soak: 6 hours
Bake: 18 - 25 minutes
Makes 10 - 12 4 oz crème brûlées (I've been told that it's better to use smaller, wider ramekins. If you have those, use em! If you don't, don't. That's what I did.)
Crème Brûlée is a dessert that looks, tastes, and sounds (the crack of that sugar on top!) impressive. What I love about this dessert is that it gives a fantastic wow-factor and it's honestly not that complicated of a treat. With a few tricks, you can certainly obtain a perfect, creamy, rich crème brûlèe with no problem. I'm confident!
Let's start with a minor warning. This is a decadent AF dessert. The coffee flavor is powerful here and the presence of chocolate works to smooth the bitterness and offer a subtle sweetness. If you would prefer to nix the coffee, do it! It'll save you six hours. If you do that, you have two wonderful options. First, nix the chocolate as well and go for a standard, vanilla crème brûlée (yum). Second, double the chocolate and go for a rich, chocolatey crème brûlée. I just thought of another option! Third, split your custard and have vanilla and chocolate crème brûlée pairs!
To begin, coarsely grind coffee beans. Alternatively, place beans in a Ziploc bag and crush with a mallet or rolling pin. Add coffee beans to a medium sized bowl and add 8 ounces of heavy cream and 4 ounces of half and half. Give a good stir, cover, and refrigerate for 6 hours. You can also do this overnight and start the rest of your custard in the morning.
After soaking, strain the cream from the beans and discard beans. I found this easier when very slightly warming the soak in a skillet. Don't bring the cream to a full boil; you'll risk altering the flavor of the coffee.
Make sure to measure your cream once strained. The 8 ounces of heavy cream and 4 ounces of half and half soaked for six hours left me with 4 ounces. You'll be adding this to the additional 28 ounces of heavy cream and you want your total cream (coffee-soaked and the 28 ounces) to equal 32 ounces, so measuring the remainder of the coffee soak is important. If you have more than 4 ounces of coffee-cream, you'll need less additional cream and vice versa.
Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until. Add sugar and coffee liqueur and whisk together. Set aside.
Strain the 4 ounces of strained coffee-cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan; this should be the second strain of the coffee cream. Then add 28 ounces heavy whipping cream into the heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring the cream just to a boil, not a full rolling boil, and remove immediately from the heat.
Break your chocolate up in a medium bowl and strain the warm cream over the chocolate. This will give the chocolate a chance to melt before adding it to the custard. Why all the straining? To remove as much as the coffee bean grit as we can. Allow the mixture to set for a minute or two to give the chocolate a nice shot at melting down.
This is perhaps the trickiest part of the process - adding the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture. If you aren't careful and aren't constantly whisking the egg, you have a good chance of turning that yummy custard into scrambled eggs. While constantly whisking the egg mixture, add about 2 tablespoons of the warm cream. Once combined, add another 2 tablespoons. Do this twice more, making sure that the warm heavy cream is fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next tablespoon. Then, carefully pour the rest of the cream mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly.
The custard will be pretty foamy at this point. If you don't get rid of that foam, it will affect the texture of your creamy custard. Use a spoon and slide it across the top of the custard to collect all that bubbly foam and dispose of it. You don't need that in your life.
Now you're ready for the ramekins! I will confess that I strain my custard a fourth time here to make sure there are no cooked egg particles in there or remaining coffee beans. I'll leave that strain up to you, but if you do decide to strain, make sure you remove any foam or bubbles that appear at the top afterward. I line my ramekins up in a deep baking sheet (roasting pan would work too) and put equal amounts of the custard in each one. I use a toothpick to pop any bubbles that surface and boil some water because crème brûlée is best cooked in a hot bain marie (water bath). Once the water has boiled, lower the pan with filled ramekins onto the middle rack of the oven and carefully pour the hot water into the pan about halfway up the ramekins. DO NOT GET ANY WATER INTO THE CUSTARD. It will ruin. It will not set up. It will be sad. Also, don't burn yourself.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes. The custard should be just set at the sides, still wobbly in the middle. Think jello, not liquid. Carefully remove from oven and let rest in water bath for 15 minutes. After that rest, the custard should be refrigerated at least 2 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with white granulated sugar and torch! I have always used recipes that recommended turbinado sugar, a brown and coarser sugar. But it takes longer to melt, and thus the custard is under the flame longer than I like. Finally, I found a recipe that shat on turbinado sugar, explaining that fine sugar is better since it melts faster and more evenly, providing that nice, glassy brûlée we all love. After burning the sugar to a nice amber, let the custard rest 2 minutes (if you can stand it) so the sugar cools and hardens.
You can use the boiler method in stead, though you do risk harming the consistency of your custard. If you use a boiler, make sure it is nice and hot before you put the custard in and that your custard is close enough to the boiler under the oven that it will crisp up quickly. Once firm, sprinkle with coarsely chopped chocolate and top with sliced blackberries.
There you have it, folks!