In my last post I bruleed grapefruit and ever since then I have had this nagging urge to use my torch again. I had crème brulee on my mind. I will admit that several years ago I went through a phase where I had to try just about every kind of crème brulee, from different types of sugars for bruleeing to infinite ways to flavor the crème. You name it, and I possibly tried it. Although I have made so many different kinds of crème brulee I wanted to make something new and very “Seattle”. When I think about Seattle and dessert my mind instantly goes to coffee. There are tons of independent coffee shops and micro roasters here. Given that there is no reason for a bad cup of coffee here. Nor is there a reason to be able to get really fresh roasted coffee beans. Coffee crème brulee sounds too fitting and too perfect for a cold January night.
When it comes to crème brulee I personally like it rich on the palate but light in texture. I like to have a deep bruleed sugary crust in contrast to the creamy center. I love how you crack the sugary top and swipe your spoon across the custardy creamy filling. I try to get a bit of each in every spoonful. When you make a coffee infused crème brulee the crème holds all the bold and vibrancy of the coffee’s essence. The bruleed sugar flavor pairs extremely well with the coffee crème. All in all it is very comforting, really warming to the soul, deeply satisfying, and effortlessly elegant.
So this past week Brian and I indulged in this dessert while we spent an evening trying to put together a 2,000 piece puzzle. (I am being kind by that statement…2,000 pieces is much more daunting then we originally thought it would be and we are nowhere near completing it yet.) But I must admit that a coffee crème brulee really is the best way to spend a long winter evening. It was so delicious we contemplated having seconds. Being how easy and comforting this dessert is I think you should all give it a try. The dessert that is, if you want to attempt a 2,000 piece puzzle – yeah, I’m not sure I can help you there. I bet you will want to have the seconds on the dessert as we did. To be honest I think I should make more crème brulee, because it made the puzzle more bearable. There is still a lot to be done on the puzzle a week later! But go ahead and make some coffee crème brulee.
Coffee Crème Brulee (serves 4-6)
**NOTE: I made sure when making this dessert to go to my local coffee shop and purchased the coffee beans that were most recently roasted. If you do not have this availability you, get beans that are deeply roasted and have a fragrant aroma. Grinding the beans fresh before making this dessert will release its oils and release it flavor into the dessert as needed.
3 cups of heavy cream
1/3 cup of coarsely ground, dark roasted coffee beans
½ cup of sugar
1 whole egg
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
½ tsp of sea salt
About 1/3 – ½ cup of turbinado sugar (aka sugar in the raw)
First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Be sure to have oven safe ramekins in 4 – 6 oz size (at least ½ cup to ¾ cup) and set aside. In a heavy bottomed pan place your cream, sugar and coffee and whisk together. Heat the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer stirring every once in a while to be sure the sugar is dissolving. Heat your cream mixture until comes to a boil and remove from the heat. Let it all steep together for about 30 minutes.
Next, when your cream and coffee mixture is done steeping strain it all through a fine mesh strainer lined with a cheese cloth into a clean bowl. Let your mixture strain right into your clean bowl, pressing down on the coffee grinds to be sure that you extract the remaining crème and coffee flavor remaining in it.
Meanwhile; in another bowl whisk together your yolks, whole egg, salt, and vanilla extract. While whisking this mixture add in a little bit of your strained heated coffee cream mixture. You want to add only a little bit at a time to temper your eggs. Once a bit of the cream is whisked into the egg mixture you can slowly add in the rest of your cream mixture while constantly whisking.
Then, pour a bit of your cream mixture evenly into your ramekins. Place the ramekins into a deep baking dish and fill with water until you come up the sides of the ramekins about and inch. Place the dish carefully into the oven and bake about 30 to 45 minutes. You are looking for the cream in the ramekins to be jiggly, yet set. Remove from the oven and cool the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least three hours (or up to eight) before bruleeing.
Finally, evenly sprinkle the top of each chilled ramekin with about a tablespoon of turbinado sugar. If using a torch gently fire the sugary top until it is all melted and caramelized. If you do not have a torch you can use your broiler. Keeping the broiler on high and placing the sugared ramekins under it, watching it closely again until the sugar is melted and caramelized. Be sure to serve them immediately, but be careful in serving as the edge of your ramekins may be real warm.
*NOTE: if you are saving the crème brulee for another time, be sure to individually cover them with plastic wrap and keep refrigerator for up to a week.