Coffee Creme Brulee

Serves 5
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean (or 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, + 5 tablespoons sugar – divided
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place cream in a saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half, scrape the caviar out, and add to the heavy cream. Add the vanilla bean and the instant espresso powder as well, and heat over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of the sugar until pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes.
  4. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the vanilla bean and ensure that there are no large clumps of espresso powder.
  5. Whisk the yolks while very slowly drizzling in the heavy cream, whisking constantly. Go slowly at first, and once you’ve added half the cream, you can go a little bit faster.
  6. Place the ramekins into a roasting pan or onto a rimmed baking sheet. Fill the ramekins with custard. Pour hot water into the roasting pan or baking sheet until it comes halfway up the ramekins.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the custard is set but still jiggly in the center (this depends on how thick or wide your ramekins are).
  8. Cool the ramekins on the countertop, then chill for at least 2-3 hours, up to 3 days in advance.
  9. To serve, sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of sugar on top of each ramekin. Use a kitchen blow torch to quickly (but carefully) caramelize the sugar on top. There should be a thin, crisp layer of caramel on top of the custard. Wait a minute or two and then serve immediately; do the caramelizing at the last minute because the crisp caramel will soften after extended periods of time.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
  1. Substitutions are as follows – you can use some instant coffee powder instead of the instant espresso powder, and you can substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean.
  2. You can find kitchen torches online and at places like Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, and restaurant suppliers. I use them for torching the Crème Brulee, meringues, and they’re great for toasting marshmallows!
  3. We bake the custards in a water bath so that they bake slowly and evenly, also adding moisture to the oven while baking. This water bath is crucial, so don’t skip it! You don’t need an expensive roasting pan for this – I purchased a disposable aluminum roasting pan, and I’ve used it for years.

Find the full how-to video here:

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