Coffee Crème Brûlée

IMG_1809 (575x394)Stop the presses!  Let it be known that I am posting a dessert that is 100% worthy of serving on Valentine’s Day—and it’s not chocolate!  Hard to believe, I know…

It may not be chocolate, but it is a thick, luscious, decadent crème brûlée which is flavored with espresso.  Hey, you can even introduce a little chocolate if you garnish it with a chocolate-covered espresso bean!

For those uninitiated with the pleasures of crème brûlée, it is a luxurious custard, usually vanilla, topped off with a sprinkle of sugar which is then broiled or torched to create a thin crunchy layer of caramelized sweetness.  The contrast between the crunchy topping and the soft custard below is both delicious and texturally delightful.

With or without a little touch of chocolate, you and a special someone or two, as the case may be, will savor every delectable bite.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

One year ago:  Molten Lava Cakes with Mint Fudge Sauce

Coffee Crème Brûlée

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 4 tbl. packed light brown sugar
  • Chocolate-covered espresso beans as garnish, optional

Directions

Heat oven to 325o.  Set six 6- or 8-oz. soufflé dishes, ramekins, or custard cups into a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold them.  Heat a kettle of water to a boil.

Mix cream, granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of the espresso powder in a small saucepan.  Heat just until sugar and espresso dissolve; do not let boil.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

Whisk egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl.  Add cream mixture; whisk lightly, just until combined.

Pour mixture into the soufflé dishes or cups, not quite filling them to the top.  Transfer the pan to the oven rack and pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the soufflé dishes.

Bake until custard is softly set in center, about 1 1/2 hours.  Remove dishes from the hot water and let cool on a rack.  Then refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Shortly before serving, heat the broiler.  Mix brown sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder in a small dish.  Sprinkle evenly over custards.

Broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, 40 to 60 seconds, watching constantly so it doesn’t burn.*  Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving.  Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans if using.

*I used my hand-held torch to caramelize the top.

Source:  An old recipe cut out from a newspaper many years ago.

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