Sunday, January 20, 2013

Latte Creme Brulee

There's something about creme brulee that is just fancy.  It's a nice simple dessert that looks really impressive when you serve it to your guests.  It's also really easy to make it your own (American Idol anyone?).  You can put in almost anything you like ... Grand Marnier, Bailey's Irish Cream, poached pears, berries, peppermint, or in this case ... coffee!  I got the idea from, well, the fact that I LOVE coffee.  This isn't just a passing love affair either, we've had a serious relationship for a long time and I think we're ready to take the next step.  I frequent the local Starbucks quite often to see what they're making and the creme brulee latte caught my eye ... yum!  So I figured if they can make a creme brulee latte, I can make a latte creme brulee.  

The great thing about creme brulee is that you can really customize it to the way you like it without a lot of know-how.  The most important thing in this recipe is the ratio of egg yolks to cream.  I have used a ratio of 1:100ml so there is 100 ml of cream for every egg yolk I put in.  If you like your creme brulee on the less firm side you can go with 1:125 ml (in this recipe use 4 yolks instead of five).  Or if  you like yours more firm, you can go anywhere between 1:100 and 1:80 ... maybe even further if you'd like.  There are a range of recipes out there but the one thing that is going to make the most difference to your dessert is this ratio.  Consider yours wisely :-) ... or just make mine and then decide afterward whether your next batch will have more or less yolks.

Special Equipment

  • Ramekins (you'll need 6, 3" ramekins for this recipe ... these are the little white ceramic bowls, you can see mine in the picture below)
  • Torch.  I have a small kitchen torch which works just fine for me.

Recipe  (makes 6 servings in 3" ramekins)

2 cups heavy cream

2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or a vanilla bean if you have it)

1 pk Starbucks instant coffee ( I used extra bold Italian roast)

5 large egg yolks

5 Tbsp of sugar

6 tsp of sugar to brulee the tops


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

In a heavy saucepan, add the cream, vanilla and coffee mixture (you can add any instant coffee that you like and you can put in as much or little as you like).  Heat for 15 minutes over medium-low heat and stir to make sure that it doesn't burn.  Don't boil the mixture or you will end up with that milk skin on the top (ewww).  Turn the heat off and let it steep for a few minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl add your egg yolks.  Beat the yolks until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Gradually beat in the 5 Tbsp of sugar.

Gradually add about a 1/3 of the milk mixture to the eggs.  This step is done so that you can slowly bring the temperature of the yolks up without ending up with scrambled eggs!  Give the mixture a stir and then pour it back into the saucepan where the rest of your warm milk is.  Give it a good stir until it's completely blended.

Boil some water in a kettle.  While that's boiling take out a 9x13" glass pan and your 6 ramekins.  Fill each ramekin leaving only a little space at the top (they don't rise so you don't need to give them too much room).  Place the ramekins in the glass pan.  When your water is hot pour the water into the pan so that it comes up about 2/3 of the way up the ramekins.  You can see the water in my picture below.

Place it in the oven for 35-40 minutes until it has set.  It will still jiggle slightly but it won't seem like liquid.  Take it out of the oven and let it cool for an hour or two.  Then place in the refrigerator overnight.

About 10 minutes before you're ready to serve your masterpiece, take it out of the fridge and add about 1 tsp of sugar (either white or light brown sugar) to the top and spread it around.   You will probably need a little less than the full 1 tsp.  Then torch your sugar (slowly so it doesn't burn too much).  With my small torch I find it works best if I keep it moving very quickly over the creme brulee so that the flame isn't in one spot too long.

Serve once the top has cooled.

The milk mixture with the added coffee swirling around

Our yolks and sugar are nice and light now, time to add the milk mixture

Waiting to go in the oven

My creme brulee always comes out of the oven looking like it has craters.  It comes from the  froth in the cream.  Luckily we are going to cover it with the torched sugar.

See?  No craters ... just delicious creamy goodness

Enjoy!!  Let me know how yours went.

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