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Crème Brûlée (with espresso)

This indulgent dessert recipe seems complex than most dessert recipes, but let us assure you – it is absolutely not! Creme brûlée has the most beautiful texture, and the flavor is incredible!

What is creme brûlée?

Creme brûlée is a delicious baked custard that has a pudding-like consistency. It is gently baked in a water bath and finished by burning a layer of sugar on top.

The history of creme brûlée

Interestingly enough, Spain, England and France all proclaim themselves to be the country of origin for creme brûlée. However, none of the original recipes from these countries are prepared exactly as modern creme brûlée. The first recipe for the modern process of preparing creme brûlée appeared in French cookbooks in the 1980s.

French culinary historians believe that creme brûlée was first developed in the 1690s. It was popular at the time to make shapes by burning sugar and placing them on top of custard. Instead of burning the sugar directly atop the creme base, they would make it separately to go along with it!

England claims that the first creme brûlée originated in Cambridge at trinity college in the 1870s. A student took a traditional custard recipe, then burned the school logo on top using sugar. This recipe is the most similar to modern day creme brûlée!

Prior to both of those origin stories, Spain believes that their Crema Catalana is the first recipe that resembles a modern creme brûlée. Crema Catalana is a milk-based custard that originated in medieval times. While it traditionally has the burned sugar crust, the recipe for the custard base is different.

Since none of these recipes are made exactly as we make it today, the jury is out on which country can claim itself to be the inventor of creme brûlée!

What do I need to make creme brûlée?

All you need to make creme brûlée is a little patience, and some quality equipment!

  • Ramekins to bake the creme brûlée are a must. It is important that they are shallow so that the custard base bakes to perfection.
  • A mixing bowl that has a pouring spout makes it super easy to distribute the custard base into the ramekins.
  • A whisk to bring the creme base together
  • Lastly you will need a blow torch to develop the classic creme brûlée sugar crust!

How to make creme brûlée

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar.
  2. In a pot, combine heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, espresso powder and a pinch of salt. Heat up over medium high heat just until scalded. Do not boil.
  3. Transfer the hot heavy cream into a vessel with a spout. This will make the next step easier!
  4. Slowly pour the heated cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Make sure to whisk constantly throughout this process to prevent the egg yolks from curdling.
    • Note: the sugar in the egg yolk mixture will help the eggs withstand the heat, but it is extremely important to pour slowly and whisk the entire time. Egg yolks need to be exposed to the heat gently in order to prevent them from turning into scrambled eggs.
  5. Distribute the creme mixture into shallow ramekins (8 oz) and arrange them in an oven safe baking dish.
  6. Pour water into the baking dish around the ramekins. You want the water to come about halfway up the side of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water in with the custard base.
  7. Place in the oven at 300 degrees F. and bake until set about 30 minutes. Careful not to over bake, you want them to have a a slight jiggle. *If it jiggles too much then it will be runny, if it does not jiggle at all then it is over baked!
  8. Remove the creme brûlée from the oven and carefully remove out of the water bath (otherwise it will continue to cook) let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  9. Sprinkle sugar on top of each individual creme brûlée.
  10. Toast the sugar with a blow torch until the sugar turns a deep golden brown.
  11. Serve!

How should I serve creme brûlée

You can serve creme brûlée as is, right out of the oven after you’ve developed the sugary crust. It is really that good to have all on it’s own! But if you are a fan of toppings, there are plenty of options to take this yummy dessert up a notch.

  • Try serving creme brûlée with an assortment of fresh berries! You can slice strawberries and combine them with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Or simply pick your favorite berry to place atop. A sprig of mint would be a perfect garnish with this dessert topping.
  • If you are looking for something extra creamy, you could always add a dollop of whipped cream. You can use store bought whipped cream, or whip it yourself by combining heavy cream and powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk them together until fluffy, and scoop a little on top.
  • For chocolate lovers, you can break off a piece of a chocolate bar, or melt chocolate and form it into a fun shape. If you’re going for something that looks a little more fancy, you can melt the chocolate and drizzle it onto parchment paper or wax paper in a pattern. Allow it to cool in the fridge until hardened, then place it on top of the creme brûlée!

Notes

Yields 4 – 8 oz ramekins. Feel free to use 6 – 6 oz ramekins.

If you’d like to add flavorings, feel free to use different extracts and/or zest from a lemon or orange!

Creme Brulee (with espresso)

Alia and Radwa
This creme brûlée recipe is so luscious and creamy. It's got a hint of coffee and is oh so creamy!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories
Ingredients
  
Instructions
 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar.
  • In a pot, combine heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, espresso powder and a pinch of salt. Heat up over medium high heat just until scalded. Do not boil.
  • Transfer the hot heavy cream into a vessel with a spout. This will make the next step easier!
  • Slowly pour the heated cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Make sure to whisk constantly throughout this process to prevent the egg yolks from curdling.
  • Note: the sugar in the egg yolk mixture will help the eggs withstand the heat, but it is extremely important to pour slowly and whisk the entire time. Egg yolks need to be exposed to the heat gently in order to prevent them from turning into scrambled eggs.
  • Distribute the creme mixture into shallow ramekins (8 oz) and arrange them in an oven safe baking dish.
  • Pour water into the baking dish around the ramekins. You want the water to come about halfway up the side of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water in with the custard base.
  • Place in the oven at 300 degrees F. and bake until set about 30 minutes. Careful not to over bake, you want them to have a a slight jiggle. *If it jiggles too much then it will be runny, if it does not jiggle at all then it is over baked!
  • Remove the creme brûlée from the oven and carefully remove out of the water bath (otherwise it will continue to cook) let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top of each individual creme brûlée.
  • Toast the sugar with a blow torch until the sugar turns a deep golden brown.
  • Serve!

Video

Notes

Yields 4 - 8 oz ramekins. Feel free to use 6 - 6 oz ramekins.
Keyword creme brûlée, creme brûlée recipe, easy creme brûlée recipe, french dessert, homemade creme brûlée
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