Creme Brulee with Espresso

Creme Brulee with Espresso

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Creme Brulee with Espresso is an amazing dessert to serve your most honored guests. Creamy vanilla custard with the tiniest hint of coffee and a caramelized brittle topping that you must break through with a spoon. Simply divine! 

I’ve been wanting to make this dessert for a long time, but kept putting it off because I couldn’t think of enough uses to justify buying the needed torch. Yes, I would use it to caramelize the tops of the brulee, but what else would I use it for? 

Creme Brulee

Finally, this past February (for our 31st anniversary) I took the plunge to buy the torch, as well as some shallow ramekins. Why, oh why did I wait so long? I love the torch, and I LOVE this dessert!

After brainstorming with our daughters, we decided I could use the torch for browning meringues or marshmallow toppings, melting cheese, toasting crumbs, roasting peppers, and probably a whole lot more.

 

Ingredients Needed to Make Creme Brulee with Espresso

  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla bean paste
  • large egg yolks
  • granulated sugar
  • espresso powder
  • salt
  • turbinado sugar (for topping)
  • boiling water for water bath

 

Equipment Needed to Make Creme Brulee

Culinary Kitchen Torch - Sondiko Torch - Butane Torch

For this recipe you’ll need a few special tools. The first, and most important is the cooking torch. I purchased a Sondiko Butane Torch from Amazon. I wanted a torch that would be easy to use and refill and this one had good reviews. After having used it a few times, I am very satisfied with the purchase. There is a newer model available, but I preferred the older style and stand.

Some may suggest broiling the ramekins at the end to brown the sugar. This option is rather inconvenient as you must rotate the dishes frequently to ensure an even browning, which will also heat the cream to undesired temperatures.

For the Butane refills, I purchased the Ronson brand and was able to buy 3 at a time for around $12. After having used it on 3 recipes, I have yet to empty my first canister. The main thing to look for when buying butane is that it has a long nozzle for refilling.

The third recommendation for this recipe is to use shallow ramekins. You might be tempted to use the taller ones that hold more filling, but 5-6 ounces will be more than adequate for this dessert. Plus, the shallow dishes allow for a larger portion of the caramelized topping, which after all, is what we love the most! You may buy these in round or oval shapes, which would both be great for serving the Creme Brulee.

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place shallow ramekins in a large roasting pan or baking dish. This recipe will make enough for 5 – 6 oz ramekins. You may need 2 pans for this.

 

Steep the Vanilla in the Cream

In a small saucepan, combine the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean paste. Lightly whisk to stir the paste.

Creme Brulee is most often made with the seeds from whole vanilla beans, which can be expensive to buy. I like to use vanilla bean paste, which offers the full vanilla flavor plus some seeds for a visual experience. Feel free to use real vanilla if the paste isn’t an option (used in equal amounts). Or scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod, if desired. 

Simmer the cream over low heat until heated through, stirring often. Do not allow the cream to come to a boil. Remove from heat and allow the vanilla to steep and cool for 12-15 minutes.

Whisking the Eggs for Creme Brulee

Prepare the Custard

In a large mixing bowl, combine the large egg yolks, granulated sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended, but not frothy.

If you want to make a classic creme brulee, simply omit the espresso powder. I like it both ways and really do not have a favorite.  

Gradually drizzle the warm cream into the egg mixture, lightly whisking to prevent any curdling. If desired, you may strain the custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any egg clumps or foam. Transfer the custard into a glass measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring.

Baking the Custard

Pour the cream mixture evenly into the prepared ramekins. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour in the boiling water until it reaches halfway on the ramekins, being very careful not to get any water in the cream.

Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the custard has set but slightly jiggles in the center.

Creme Brulee in Ramekins before the Sugar Topping

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or even better, overnight.

Special Hint: I found that using a canning jar lifter works really well for moving the dishes from the pan to the cooling rack without getting water in the custard. If you have one, I recommend using it!

 

Serving the Creme Brulee with Espresso

When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of the turbinado sugar on each ramekin. Evenly distribute by gently shaking the sugar from side to side.

In searching many recipes online, I learned that superfine or granulated sugar was often recommended for the brulee. Through my own experimentation, I found that turbinado sugar resulted in the browning, taste, and crustiness that I sought. 

Torching the Sugar for Creme Brulee

Begin torching the custard tops by slowly moving the flame over the sugar until evenly browned. Work from one edge to the next, from one side to the other.

Return the dishes to the refrigerator for 7-10 minutes without any covering to allow the tops to harden and the custard to become cold.

You may make the custard a day ahead with refrigeration, but you’ll want to torch the sugar just before serving to ensure a hard, crackly crust. 

Serving Creme Brulee with Espresso

This recipe will serve 5-6 people, depending on the size of ramekins used.

See more Desserts Here. 

Recipe for Creme Brulee with Espresso

Creme Brulee with Espresso

Creme Brulee with Espresso is an amazing dessert to serve your most special guests. Creamy vanilla custard with the tiniest hint of coffee and a caramelized sugar topping that you must break through with a spoon. Simply divine! 
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Custard, Espresso Powder, Turbinado Sugar, Vanilla Paste
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cool and Refrigerate:: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Copper Bowl
Creme Brulee Ramekins
Butane Fuel
Cooking Torch

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place ramekins in a large roasting pan or baking dish. This recipe will make enough for 5 - 6 oz ramekins, or 6 - 5 oz ramekins. You may need 2 pans for this.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean paste. Lightly whisk to distribute the paste. Simmer over low heat until heated through, stirring often. Do not allow the cream to come to a boil. Remove from heat and allow the vanilla to steep and cool for 12-15 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the large egg yolks, granulated sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended, but not frothy.
  • Gradually drizzle the cream into the egg mixture, lightly whisking to prevent curdling. If desired, you may strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any egg clumps or foam. Transfer mixture into a glass measuring cup with a spout.
  • Pour the cream mixture evenly into the prepared ramekins. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour in the boiling water until it reaches halfway on the ramekins, being very careful not to get any water in the cream.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the custard has set and slightly jiggles in the center. Transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serving the Creme Brulee

  • When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of the turbinado sugar on each ramekin. Evenly distribute by gently shaking the sugar from side to side.
  • Begin torching the custard tops by slowly moving the flame over the sugar until evenly browned.
  • Return the dishes to the refrigerator for 7-10 minutes without any covering to allow the tops to harden and the custard to cool. Serves 5-6.

Notes

*Custard may be made a day ahead and refrigerated. However, you'll want to torch the sugar just before serving for best results. 
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