Friday, January 25, 2013

Coffee Crème Brûlée

Coffee Crème Brûlée is crispy sweet on top and creamy underneath.  Yummy!
Recipe from La Cascata: Kauai, HI via Bon Appétit  
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Serves 8

When you need to make a lovely dessert for a small crowd, this will fill the bill very nicely. It has a wow factor because sugar is “burnt” on top and leaves a beautiful sweet crust, which the dessert spoon must break through to get to the creamy deliciousness underneath.  Begin preparing this a day before you plan to serve it. The sugar is caramelized quickly under the broiler, but a small blowtorch (made for the kitchen) works well, too. 

4 cups whipping cream
1 cup plus 8 teaspoons sugar (divided)
2 Tablespoons coarsely ground espresso coffee beans
(You can substitute medium roast coffee beans coarsely ground for the espresso beans.)
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or coffee powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg

Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large roasting pan.  Place eight 3/4-cup custard cups on top of the towel. (The towel will prevent the custard cups from sliding around.) Combine cream, 1 cup sugar, ground espresso beans, instant espresso powder and cinnamon stick in heavy large saucepan. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into mixture; add bean. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar and espresso powder dissolve. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 30 minutes. Strain through fine sieve.  (You can also use a cheesecloth for this.)  Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk egg yolks and egg in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. (You may wish to strain through the sieve again to make sure the mixture is very smooth.  It’s easier to do the next step if you pour the mixture into a bowl with a lip for pouring the mixture into the custard cups.)  Divide among custard cups in pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups.  Bake custards until center moves only slightly when cups are gently shaken, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove custards from pan. Cool; refrigerate uncovered overnight.  Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over each custard. Place custard cups on baking sheet. Broil until sugar is brown and caramelized, rotating baking sheet to broil evenly and watching closely to avoid burning, 1 to 2 minutes. Chill custards 1 hour. 
The custards, resting on a towel in their water bath, are now ready to go into the oven.
Hold the flame about 2 inches from the top.  Move the flame in a circular motion until the sugar melts and forms a smooth surface.

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