This small batch Espresso Crème Brûlée is rich, creamy, filled with espresso flavors, and is easier to make than you would think! Few ingredients, and a delicious dessert! Perfect for a Valentine's date night, or any other night you'd like a fancy dessert with little effort.
Happy Valentine's Day, my friends. For this special day, I bring you a favorite during this time of year, but with a twist: Espresso Crème Brûlée. If you've ever thought that you really want some Crème Brûlée, but you don't want to go to a restaraunt just to enjoy it, then you've come to the right place. Not only is it easy, but it's a small batch espresso Crème Brûlée recipe! Makes 3 small servings that you can share with your loved ones, or save all for yourself. Easy, quick, and a delicious treat!
Ingredients to Make Espresso Crème Brûlée
- Heavy cream: Typically found in Crème Brûlée, heavy cream is used to create a thick, but light custard.
- Vanilla Extract: Most recipes you'll find vanilla bean, but I use vanilla extract because it's what I have on hand most of the time. I like to use vanilla extract with seeds. I use a non-alcoholic version.
- Espresso Powder: since this is an espresso Crème Brûlée, it's highly recommended that you use espresso powder for that delicious coffee flavor.
- Eggs: Egg yolks from large eggs, at room temperature.
- Sugar: to sweeten the Crème Brûlée and to top after baking and before torching.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Espresso Crème Brûlée
Add the heavy cream to a medium sauce pan.
Then add the vanilla extract to the heavy cream.
Lastly add the espresso powder and salt to the heavy cream and heat over medium heat until hot, then set aside.
Add egg yolks and sugar to a bowl and whisk.
Temper the eggs by slowly drizzling a small amount of heavy cream into the egg mixture and whisk. Then slowly drizzle in more and continue mixing. Continue this until completely combined.
Pour the Crème Brûlée evenly into the ramekins and add boiling water to the 8x8 pan, then bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are set and the center is slightly jiggly, like you would find with cheesecake.
7. Once chilled, add sugar to each ramekin, then torch using a kitchen torch.
This Crème Brûlée is perfect, as is, but I understand where some people wouldn't care too much for espresso powder or the taste of coffee. In that case, leave out the espresso, and add a little more vanilla extract to create more of a vanilla flavor.
Once baked, place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. If you would like to keep them for longer, refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Once sugar is caramelized on top of Crème Brûlée, it's best to eat it within a couple hours.
There are two things that make this Espresso Crème Brûlée a star! The ramekins and the kitchen torch.
You can use whatever ramekins you have, but depending on the shallowness and the size, you will need to adjust the baking time. I used 4 oz. ramekins that I purchased from Amazon. I personally love them because of their size and I think it's perfect for a small batch recipe.
The kitchen torch is a staple tool for any baker who loves to caramelize sugars or torch meringues. I use Jo Chef Kitchen Torch which comes with a refillable butane fuel..
Tips for the Best Espresso Crème Brûlée
- Temper the eggs: It's important not to pour HOT cream into the egg mixture, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs. Slowly drizzle in the cream a little bit at a time to temper the eggs.
- Use a water bath: Just like cheesecake, it's important to use a water bath because we're dealing with a custard, and a water bath creates a humid environment that will create a creamy Espresso Crème Brûlée.
- Don't overbake: Remove the Espresso Crème Brûlée from the oven when the edges are set but the center jiggles like a cheesecake should.
- Completely cover with sugar: When you're ready to torch the sugar, completely cover the tops of the Crème Brûlée with sugar so that there's no chance of torching any of the custard.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can place the ramekins in the oven on broiler for a couple minutes until the sugar caramelizes. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on it, otherwise it could burn.
Definitely! The water bath creates a humid environment that will give the Crème Brûlée a creamy and luscious texture and create a custard.
Tempering eggs is basically controlling the heat added to the room temperature eggs. You add a little hot liquid to the cool eggs to slowly heat up the eggs and avoid scrambling. If adding all at once, you risk scrambling the eggs and ruining the dish. This method should be applied whenever you add any type of hot liquid to eggs.
Other Recipes You Might Like
Espresso Crème Brûlée
- 3 4 oz. ramekins
- 1 kitchen torch
Espresso Crème Brûlée
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste will work
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- granulated or turbinado sugar
- fruit optional
- Preheat oven to 325° and prep an 8x8 pan with three 4 oz. ramekins and set aside.
- Boil water and set it aside (you'll need it to create a water bath for the Crème Brûlée)
- In a medium sauce pan, add heavy cream, vanilla extract, espresso powder, and salt and heat on medium high heat until the mixture is hot (not boiling). Once heated, set aside for a couple minutes to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until completely combined and lighter in color.
- Slowly drizzle a small amount of heavy cream into the egg mixture and whisk. Then slowly drizzle in more and continue mixing. Continue this until completely combined.
- Pour the Crème Brûlée evenly into the ramekins and add boiling water to the 8x8 pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are set and the center is slightly jiggly, like you would find with cheesecake.
- Remove them from the pan and let them cool at room temperature, then refrigerate them for at least 3-4 hours.
- Once chilled, add sugar to each ramekin, then torch using a kitchen torch.
- If you don't have a kitchen torch, broil the Crème Brûlée in the oven, starting with about 1-2 minutes and keeping it in for longer if needed (depending on the oven). Don't over broil, or you might burn it.