If there is a way to get more coffee into my day, then I am all for it. Especially when it is in the form of dessert. I have never made crème brûlée before, mainly because I never had the tools to get the toffee bit on the top. That was fixed recently when my mum gave me a mini blowtorch, so I was dying to give this recipe, which has been beckoning for quite some time, a go. This was one of the desserts we had on the menu at our restaurant (more than 13 years ago!!!) and I was very taken with it. It is one of those classics that simply never dates, in my opinion when something tastes that good it just doesn't go out of style!
The recipe comes from an old book of mine called Espresso: culture and cuisine (by Karl Petzke and Sara Slavin), which has a number of recipes in it that I have relied on over the years and keep revisiting such as Espresso syrup, Espresso and Hazelnut Cheesecake and Biscotti with toasted espresso beans.
Espresso Crème Brûlée
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 c milk
1/4 caster sugar
1/2 c brewed espresso
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2c demerara sugar (or white sugar)
2 tbsp finely ground espresso
Preheat oven to 150C (300F). In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar and brewed espresso. Place over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until war, do not let mixture boil. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and egg yolks. Gradually stir or whisk the beaten eggs into the heated mixture, then cook over a medium heat stirring constantly.
Pour the mixture into 8 150 ml (6 ounce) custard cups and place the cups in a shallow baking dish. Add water to the dish to halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until custards are set in the centre. Remove from baking dish and let sit for 1 hour.
Sprinkle sugar over top of each custard. Apply heat (with blow torch, or put under a hot grill) until sugar begins to melt being careful not to let it burn. It should caramelise and form a liquid, sprinkle on a little espresso grounds, while the sugar is still warm. Leave for a few minutes for the sugar to harden so you have a toffee 'shell' on top of the custard before serving.