Although most people view creme brulee as a difficult dessert to make, this restaurant menu staple is actually surprisingly easy! It's one of my favorite desserts not only because it WOWs guests but also because it is super customizable! Like all my favorite recipes, once you learn the technique you can play around with all sorts of different flavors.
At my house we prefer non traditional desserts for birthdays over cake. So when my husband's birthday was on the horizon he chose his favorite, coffee creme brulee.
Traditional vanilla custard creme brulee is perfect topped with berries, stone fruit, or all by itself. But there are so many other options! Ginger, banana, coconut, chocolate or coffee all pair perfectly with the creamy base and burnt sugar topping. You can use the simple technique and play around with all different flavor combinations. Pour warm cream over chocolate, mix banana puree into the egg yolks, add ginger to the cream, the opportunities are endless!
The standard recipe yields 6 custards, but because we eat this for breakfast, snack and dessert I always double the recipe. What you see below is my large batch, but feel free to half it if you have more self restraint or less family members than I do.
Gather your ingredients
1/2 gallon heavy whipping cream (not regular whipping cream, 40% 'classic heavy'), 1 cup sugar, 1 dozen eggs, 3 packets of instant coffee (I prefer Starbucks VIA), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 cup course sugar (brown sugar, raw sugar, sparkling sugar, etc.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium heat combine the cream, vanilla and instant coffee.
Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. After mixture simmers remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, separate egg yolks from whites. Set whites aside for another use.
Whisk the sugar and salt into the egg yolks until they are pale yellow.
Find 12 shallow oven safe custard dishes and place on a large baking sheet or baking dish.
Bring some water to a boil.
Whisk 1/3 of the cooled cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour in and combine the remaining cream.
Once combined, pour custard into prepared dishes and place in preheated oven.
Pour boiling water into the baking dish until it comes half way up the custard dishes. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until custard is firm but still a little wiggly.
Carefully remove custards from baking pan and place on a cooled pan.
Cover with plastic wrap being careful to not let plastic touch the tops of the custards. Chill for at least one hour.
After cooled, when you are ready to serve preheat your broiler on high heat. Top with course sugar in an even layer.
Place individual servings (or the entire batch) under broiler until the sugar is smoking, nicely browned and evenly melted.
Carefully remove from broiler and serve.
Alternately, you can use a handheld torch to caramelize the sugar topping. This leaves a great distinction between the warm crunchy sugar and the cool firm custard. The downside being that it is near impossible to caramelize and serve a large number at one time.
Another option is to pre-caramelize the sugar under the broiler and return to the fridge to cool for 30 minutes to an hour. It will cool the custard and still have a thick crunchy sugar top.
What's your favorite creme brulee flavor?
Coffee Creme Brulee
recipe by Tristin Rieken at ONEarmedMAMA.com
- 1/2 gallon 40% classic heavy whipping cream (also equal to 2 quarts, 8 cups or 4 pints)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 packets instant coffee (Starbucks VIA preferred)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 12 egg yolks
- 1 cup coarse sugar (raw sugar, brown sugar, sparkling sugar, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- In a saucepan over medium heat combine the cream, vanilla and instant coffee.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Then remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and salt into egg yolks until they are pale yellow.
- Place 12 shallow custard dishes on a large baking sheet or baking dish.
- Put some water on to boil
- Whisk 1/3 of the cooled cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then, combine the remaining cream.
- Once combined, pour custard into prepared dishes and place in preheated oven.
- Pour boiling water into the baking dish until it comes half way up the custard dishes.
- Bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until custard is firm but still a little wiggly.
- Chill for at least one hour.
- Top with coarse sugar in an even layer and place under broiler until sugar melts and bubbles