Although most people view creme brulee as a difficult dessert to make, this it’s 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.
- 1/2 gallon heavy whipping cream 40% classic, also equal to 2 quarts, 8 cups, or 4 pints
- 1 teasp vanilla extract
- 3 packets instant coffee Starbucks VIA brand preferred
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teasp salt
- 12 large egg yolks
- 1/2 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