I had made these creme brulees earlier this month to serve to my family. I'm ashamed to say it was from Good Friday dinner, which was almost 3 weeks ago. I'm a little bit behind in blogging, but it's because I've been busy finishing up cookie's nursery and nesting and resting while I can. (Pictures coming soon.) Right now, I'm at 38 weeks and I'm at that anxious stage where I'm constantly thinking "is this it?" or is this "labor pains or braxton-hicks?" Either way, cookie is still baking away and I'm still up and around in the kitchen and thankfully this is my last week of work before I start my maternity leave.
This dessert was simple enough to prepare the night before with a couple ingredients, and make sure you have enough butane in your blowtorch or use a broiler to caramelize the tops. I think everyone enjoys the little fire show from the blowtorch as a teaser of what's to come. One of the best parts about this dish, you can use all the leftover egg whites to make macarons. (Peanut butter & blueberry jelly and meyer lemon). Double win!
Indulgent and creamy!
Adapted from The Pastry Queen
1/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 vanilla bean
7 large egg yolks
2/3 cup plus about 1/2 cup sugar
Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly coat six 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.
Prepare the custard, by adding the milk, cream, and espresso powder into a 1 1/2-quart, nonreactive heavy-bottomed saucepan and warm over medium-high heat. While the cream mixture is heating, use a sharp paring knife to slice the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise. Separate the beans from the pod by scraping the inside of the pod with the edge of the knife. Add the beans and pod to the heating cream mixture. (Or substitute and use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.) Bring to a boil and immediately remove the saucepan from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the 2/3 cup sugar until well combined. Continue to whisk while slowly pouring the hot cream into the egg mixture. Blend thoroughly. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the vanilla bean pod and any bits of overcooked egg.
Place the prepared ramekins in a baking pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high. Pour the custard into the ramekins, filling each halfway. Transfer the baking pan carefully to the oven and fill the ramekins as close to the top as possible without spilling. Fill a measuring cup with hot tap water.
Add enough water to the baking pan to reach three-quarters of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custards about 1 hour. Check periodically to make sure the custards are not browning or bubbling. If they are, decrease the temperature to 250 degrees. The custards are done when just set (they should tremble slightly when shaken). If they still looks liquidy, return to the oven for 5 minutes longer, or until set.
Remove the ramekins from the baking pan and cool for 30 to 40 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 3 to 4 hours. The custards will firm up in the fridge.
Just before serving, use about 1/2 cup sugar to top each custard with a thin layer of sugar. It is important to spread the sugar evenly and to make sure the sugar layer is thick enough. If you have a kitchen torch, use it to caramelize the sugar. If not, preheat the broiler. Place the ramekins 4 inches from the flame and broil, watching carefully, until the sugar is caramelized and lightly browned. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans and serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings
Review: Absolutely sinful and luscious. I loved this twist on the classic dessert, and it was a light enough dessert to have after the heaviest of meals. Thankfully, most of my guests were coffee lovers, and happily enjoyed their desserts.