This espresso creme brûlée recipe is a sweet silky classic French dessert that I love to spike with espresso! It’s basically a simple baked custard with a luscious creamy feel and a crunchy caramelized sugar topping.
This contrast of smooth and crunchy with the sweetness and espresso flavor is the best ending to any meal!
Have you guys had creme brûlée before? It’s a very French thing and it’s a real classic. When you thing about it, it’s just a custard which is usually flavored with vanilla and has a delicate sugary topping.
But in reality it’s not just a custard. It’s a velvety smooth luscious sweet dessert. And the good news is, as fancy as it sounds, it’s totally easy and do-able!
Before we get into how simple this creme brûlée is, I just have to mention the espresso. It’s really not a classic, but it’s a personal favorite.
There’s something about the smell, the taste and feel of espresso that puts me in a happy place..and call it crazy, call it addition (like my friend does) or call it genetics (like my dad—aka the King of espresso) or call it however…I call it love 🙂
So I chose to mix up some freshly brewed espresso (aka love) with the cream here to make this sensational dessert the perfect way to enjoy dessert after dinner.
Now for the record, you can use some citrus zests (orange, lemon or grapefruit) or the good old vanilla—which is seriously good! But if you’re up for a a twist, than the espresso creme brûlée is the one to beat!
It reminds me of a smooth tiramisu without the ladyfinger biscuits, but with a delicate sugary topping. I love making creme brûlée in small individual ramekins like those cute heart ones, but the recipe works in a large quart ramekin too.
I just prefer the smaller ones for two things, first off I love individual servings and mini foods. Secondly, the creme brûlée bakes in much less time in smaller ramekins like that—so it’s a win win for me 🙂
Ok so for this sweet French dream dessert, you’ll start off placing your ramekins over a kitchen towel in a large baking pan (9inch by 13 inch or bigger depending on the size of you ramekins).
And then in a blender, you’ll simply blend in some eggs, cream, sugar and espresso in a blender and pour it into the ramekins. You’ll need to fill it only half way because the custard puss a little bit during baking and you’ll also need to leave some room for the sugar topping.
Now the next step may seem tricky but it’s not and it’s very important. You’ll need to take the baking pan with the ramekins and raw custard over to the oven, and pour hot water around the ramekins to create a water bath.
Again be careful not to pour the water over the custard, and fill the baking pan only halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Then close up the oven door and let those beauties bake for about 25 minutes until they’re puffed and not jiggly anymore.
At this point it’s ideal to chill the custard for a couple of hours before the sugary topping.
The reason is, this dessert is a beautiful contrast of smooth cold creamy airy custard and warm sweet crunchy sugary topping—so to get all those amazing textures, it’s best to chill the custard well. And now for the fun part—the sugary crunch!
If you have a kitchen torch, that works best to get a beautiful even caramelization over the tops of the creme brûlée. However if you don’t have one, or if your hubby dropped yours and broke the knob (like some people) then your oven broiler is your best bet.
Have the broiler on high and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the tops of each custard then place the ramekins on a baking sheet under the broiler for just a few mins.
You’ll see those gorgeous spots of caramelized sugar and a nice golden crust over the entire surface. Now remember this crust is piping hot—so don’t cut through it right away. Wait a minute or two and dig in! Enjoy 🙂
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup of full fat milk
- ¼ cup of good brewed espresso (double shot)
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup of granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoons of unsalted butter for greasing the ramekins
- 2 tablespoons sugar (to caramelize)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a large roasting pan,
- lined with a kitchen towel.
- Lightly grease 12 ramekins or teacups with butter and place them over
- the kitchen towel in the roasting pan.
- Heat the cream and milk until just about to simmer, then add in the
- espresso and mix well.
- Meanwhile In a blender, add the egg yolks and granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Blend the egg yolk mixture for 2 minutes and gradually temper the egg mixture with the hot milk and cream (Add the hot milk and cream mixture very gradually through the blender lid and while the blender is on the entire time)
- Evenly divide the mixture among all the ramekins.
- Place the roasting pan into the oven and carefully pour hot boiling
- water around the ramekins making sure it reaches about halfway up
- the sides.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the custard feels set around the
- edges and top.
- Cool on the counter and chill until set.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle the extra sugar evenly over the 6
- ramekins and using a blow-torch, caramelize each top until golden
- brown and bubbly (alternatively you can broil the chilled custards but
- keep an eye on them rotating as needed to avoid burning).