I have made a lot of creme brûlées in the past. Rhubarb, pumpkin, chocolate, plain… I’m almost ashamed to say that I’ve never thought to make carmel! Coffee yes, but why not caramel!?
We’ll pretend I didn’t have this lapse in judgement previously and really, I had this in my back pocket, just waiting for the right time to astound everyone.
The salt was a delightful afterthought. For whatever reason, it didn’t click in my mind until I was about to delve into the creamy, coffee-scented, caramel laced custard that, “salt would make this even better than its already euphoric state!” I really hope my sodium doesn’t suffer from my new found adoration of caramel and salt….
Salted Caramel Coffee Creme Brûlée
As an aside, I understand this may seem like a daunting and horrific undertaking. It does take some time and a bit of patience (slow cooking and chilling is the secret to a creamy dreamy custard) but why not treat your
self guests to a restaurant worthy dessert? You’ll also earn mega points when you bust out the blowtorch.
Adapted from epicurious.com
Makes 6-8 ramekin servings
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1/4 cup dark-roast coffee beans (such as French roast; about 3/4 ounce), crushed with mallet in plastic bag
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups half and half
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 teaspoons raw sugar*
- kosher, maldon, or sea salt to finish
- Bring 1 cup cream and coffee beans to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Stir 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet brush (I usually use an old paint brush to be honest).
- Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 11 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
- Add remaining 1 cup whipping cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel is smooth. Stir in half and half. Strain coffee-infused cream into caramel cream; discard coffee beans in strainer.
- Whisk yolks, salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain custard into large measuring cup.
- Boil a kettle of water.
- Arrange six – eight 2/3-to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups in roasting pan. Divide custard among ramekins. Add enough boiled water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins or custard cups.
- Bake custards until just set in center, 65 to 75 minutes. Transfer custards from water bath directly to refrigerator – or barbecue if weather permits. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
- Sprinkle top of each custard with 1 teaspoon raw sugar.
- Using kitchen torch, melt sugar on each custard until deep amber. (Alternatively, preheat broiler. Arrange custards on small rimmed baking sheet; broil until sugar topping melts and browns, about 2 minutes.)
- Refrigerate custards until sugar topping hardens, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour (do not chill longer than 1 hour or topping will start to soften). Serve custards cold.
*I didn’t have raw sugar and found white worked just fine. I’ve used raw and it does lend a deeper flavour and melts easier, but as long as it’s not brown sugar you’re ok. Brown has too much moisture from the molasses and burns before it begins to melt.