A cookbook full of crème brûlée recipes, straight out of Paris, that must be a winner. I was incredibly intrigued by the different flavours they suggested to put in. That being said, I’m usually rather conservative with my crème brûlée. I once had a lemongrass one, and it wasn’t my piece of cake. So I was going to make sure I’d make one that fits – at least in my head – better with the vanilla and caramel flavour of the original recipe.
The extra challenge was to change an ingredient – since I didn’t have vanilla extract at home, I just used vanilla sugar instead. I moved past the savoury crème brûlées – I wasn’t THAT adventurous – and settled on a coffee one.
Crème Brûlée au Café
10 cl milk
30 cl liquid crème fraîche
1/2 tea spoon liquid vanilla (i used vanilla sugar, but fresh vanilla is possible too)
10 cl of strong, fresh coffe
3 egg whites
100 g of icing sugar
1 spoonful ground coffee
50 g castor sugar
80 g brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 210C.
Heat up the milk, cream and vanilla sugar in a large pot and bring it to the boil. Then add the coffee and take it off the heat.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs with the icing sugar until it’s even and foamy.
Mix it into the pot with the milk.
Put the forms for the crème brûlée into a water bath and pour the mix in.
The crème needs about 30-45 min in the oven, depending on the size. Turn down the heat after 10 minutes because the water from the water bath shouldn’t boil. With a toothpick you can test if the crème is ready – if you stick it in, there should be no soupy cream stuck to it anymore. The top usually ends up brown.
When it’s finished, take it out of the oven, let it cool down and then put it in the fridge for about two hours. It’s not an absolute necessity, but it helps the crème settle.
For the crust, mix the castor sugar with the ground coffee and spread a layer on the crème brûlée. Afterwards, put a layer of brown sugar on top of it. Caramelise it under the grill for about 5 minutes or with a crème brûlée torch. The crust gets darker with the coffee grains in it, at first I thought it was a bit burnt.
This is where my biggest criticism of the cookbook comes in – the time and temperature in the oven were completely off. According to the book, it would’ve been 45min at 110C. I lost track of time, and when I checked after 55min, it was still a caramel soup. Since I had put them in glass forms, it was clearly visible that there was still a lot of foam on top an it hadn’t settled at all. Then I went back to my La Bonne Grand Mère cookbook (one of my favourite ones, which I mentioned in the introduction), where it states actually 210C. So I turned the heat up and about 15min later they were finally ready. The quantities were spot-on, but the timings were off. Luckily, I had made crème brûlée already multiple times, I knew what to look for as far as consistency is concerned and how to check. I would use the cookbook again, but rely more on experience than their suggestions when it comes to the oven.
The crème brûlée itself was really nice with a subtle hint of coffee. The taste of coffee might get lost if you have it with a cup of coffee, so you might want to have it with something else. It can always taste more like coffee in my opinion, but that’s a thing of taste. Crème brûlée is one of my favourite desserts so I wouldn’t have gone too crazy with it. I certainly enjoyed it with the coffee flavour and would definitely make it again.