I was actually really happy when I saw this weeks Tuesday with Dorie recipe. The recipe was chosen by Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake and she selected Dorie’s Creme Brulee, which is located on page 393 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. I have actually made creme brulee many times before but it was always vanilla flavored. This time I knew I wanted to mix it up a bit so I went to Dorie’s Playing Around section of the recipe and picked Espresso Creme Brulee. It sounds fantastic 🙂
The recipe was pretty straight forward I had some trouble with my espresso grounds. I don’t carry cheese cloth that often in my pantry, and I thought about using my French Press to steep the espresso, but the plunger doesn’t go down far enough to extract all the espresso/milk mixture. I ended up lining a cup with a coffee filter and that just ended up taking too long. In the end I found the finest strainer that I had and used it. It worked really well, but I ended up with some specks of espresso in the custards. Which was fine. It doesn’t look bad and it did not interfer with the texture or flavor of the dish.
One part of the recipe that caught me off guard was the fact that the recipe did not use a water bath and instead it baked the custards at 200°F for 50 to 60 minutes. I decided to go with it and not argue with Dorie. I set the oven for 200°F and filled four shallow creme brulee dishes. I placed them in the oven for 50 minutes, and when I pulled them out they were still very watery. I decided to turn the oven up to 250°F and bake it for another 10 minutes. This time the edges were starting to bubble a little so I knew it was time to remove them from the oven. I have this thing with custards getting cooked too much. If you do the texture just turns out horrible, and isn’t as smooth.
The hard part was caramelizing the sugar on top, not because I haven’t done it before. I have a kitchen torch. It is kind of a pain in the butt to use because you have to hold the button down the entire time for the flame to stay on, and then you end up with a dent in your thumb The torch that I use at work is awesome because it stays on until you turn the gas off to it, but the safety feature of the kitchen torch is an added bonus. I have used the torch many a time to cook the tops of eggs that I didn’t want to flip in the pan because I was afraid to bust the yolk…hehehe, I am weird. But back to carmelization, it was hard because the custard is dark in color so it was difficult to tell if you had done the job right without burning the sugar.
I guess first time was the charm and it turned out great. The flavor to the espresso creme brulee was perfect. It was very creamy, and it reminded me a little of tiramisu with the creamy espresso goodness. My favorite part of creme brulee is cracking through the sugar, and it was perfect.