French for “burnt cream,” crème brûlée is a classic dessert that every baker should have in their arsenal. Beneath a brittle layer of caramelized sugar lies a silken custard. To achieve the perfect texture, bake crème brûlée in a water bath until the edges are set yet the center remains jiggly. The centers set after chilling, at which time they’re ready to be torched.
Coffee-Cardamom Crème Brûlée
Serves | 3 |
- 1¾cups heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp dark roast coffee beans, medium-coarse ground
- 5 pods cardamom, crushed
- ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup, plus 2 Tbsp, sugar, divided
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
| Preparation | Preheat oven to 325°F. Place three 5-inch round crème brûlée ramekins in a large roasting pan or baking pan with high sides.
In a medium saucepan, combine cream, coffee beans, cardamom, vanilla bean seeds and scraped pod; set over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil and then remove from heat. Cover and steep, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Once boiling, set aside.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain coffee-cardamom mixture into a clean saucepan. Set saucepan over medium-high heat; bring mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar and salt. Using a ladle or small measuring cup, slowly add coffee-cardamom mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly (this will prevent the eggs from curdling). Gradually add remaining coffee-cardamom mixture, whisking constantly. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain custard into a large liquid measuring cup. Evenly divide custard between prepared ramekins. Place pan in oven; add hot water from the kettle to the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake, 15 to 16 minutes or until the edges are set and the centers still jiggle (nudge the pan in the oven to check for the jiggle). Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool, 10 minutes. Remove ramekins from water bath and set back on wire rack to cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator to chill, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days covered.
| To Serve | Evenly divide remaining sugar over chilled custards. Using a kitchen torch, melt sugar until it bubbles, caramelizes into a deep golden amber color and develops a smooth surface. Serve immediately.