Crème brûlée is French for "burnt cream." It is a rich custard, usually baked in a shallow ceramic dish, then sprinkled with sugar and torched or broiled, forming a crisp top coating. It makes for a nice contrast with the creamy custard.
You will need small oven-proof baking dishes (such as these) to make this recipe. You will also need one or two baking sheets at least one-inch deep. A kitchen torch is handy, but putting the dishes under the broiler will get the job done just as well.
This coffee-flavored brûlée recipe was originally published in the October 2005 issue of Food & Wine magazine. These are best when made a day ahead of time.
Latte Crème Brûlée
From Food & Wine magazine
Makes 8 servings
- 1 quart half-and-half
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- 10 large egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup strong-brewed coffee or espresso
- Boiling water for water bath
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, the sugar, and the vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer.
- In a medium bowl, beat the yolks and the salt. Remove the vanilla bean from the half-and-half. Temper the hot liquid with the yolks by slowly pouring one quarter of the liquid into the yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk for about ten seconds, then pour in the remaining liquid and continue whisking. Whisk in the espresso.
- Arrange 8 ramekins on a lipped baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Carefully pour enough hot water into the baking sheet or roasting pan, making sure not to get any in the ramekins, to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Fill each ramekin with custard.
- Carefully place the baking sheet or roasting pan in the oven. Bake the custards for one hour, or until set around the edges but still jiggly in the middle. Remove ramekins from the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator. Chill at least six hours, preferably overnight.
- When ready to serve, preheat broiler to high (unless you have a kitchen torch). Use a paper towel to gently blot any moisture the surface of each custard. Spread about 1 ½ teaspoons evenly across the entire surface of each custard. Broil about four inches from the heat for about twenty seconds (five to ten seconds if using a torch), or until browned and bubbly. Let sit a minute for sugar to harden, then serve.