Cold Brew Creme Brulee

Cold Brew Creme Brulee

I feel like these days we’re all living in a constant state of exhaustion! And while I don’t drink caffeine, I don’t turn it down in desserts! This Cold Brew Crème Brulee is so creamy and delicious with a sweet coffee flavor.  It’s actually mind-blowing how easy these are to make, so keep reading for all my tips on how to make this delicious treat, including how to top your crème brulee if you don’t have a kitchen torch!

What you’ll need

You’ll need a small pot, a small mixing bowl, a spoon or spatula, four ramekins, a 9×13 baking dish, and a kitchen torch if you have one. If you’re not familiar with a ramekin, it’s a small round dish, usually glass or ceramic, that makes little individually sized portions. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, that’s okay! I’ll walk you through how to get that crunchy topping without one.

Ingredients

heavy cream
cold brew coffee
kosher salt
egg yolks
brown sugar
white sugar

A torch heating the sugar on top of a cold brew creme brulee

How to prepare your pan

Place all four ramekins in the 9×13 dish, spaced out across the dish. I usually do them in a bit of a zig zag to give them each some space.

How to make Cold Brew Creme Brulee

You won’t believe how easy this is! All you do is heat the cream, coffee, and salt on the stove, just to get it hot. You don’t want it to boil.  Be sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t burn! You’ll see some steam coming off of it, and you’ll take it off the heat.  While that’s heating up, mix your egg yolks and brown sugar in a separate bowl.  (You can also start boiling water now.) Once the cream mixture is hot, pour a little bit of it (a quarter to a third of it) into the eggs and mix.  Then you’ll add the egg mixture into the cream mixture pot. 

You do this because if you were to add the egg mixture directly into the pot with the cream, the egg yolks would heat up too fast and would become a scrambled egg texture. We don’t want scrambled eggs in our desserts! So by adding a little bit of the hot cream mixture into the eggs first, it’s not overwhelming those yolks with heat and allows them to warm up a little bit before adding them into the pot. This makes for a more gradual heating of the eggs and gives you that lovely, smooth texture!

Once your mixture is all combined, you’ll divide it evenly among the four ramekins. It should fill each ramekin most of, if not all of the way up. You’ll then need to pour boiling water into the 9×13 dish, until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Be careful not to get any water in the crème brulee mixtures, only in the 9×13 dish! Carefully put the 9×13 dish with your ramekins taking their bath in the oven. Be careful not to splash any water into your ramekins or onto yourself!

Bake your crème brulee, then let cool. Once it’s cooled a bit, refrigerate it to let it cool completely. Many dishes cannot go from extreme hot to extreme cold, so you don’t want to put hot ramekins straight into the fridge or you could ruin your ramekins! Once chilled, cover the top of each crème brulee with a thin layer of sugar and if you have a kitchen torch, now is when you’ll use that to torch the tops of the sugar topping, just until melted. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can broil your chilled crème brulees to melt the sugar on top. The sugar will melt very quickly so watch closely. I kept an eye on mine by keeping the oven slightly cracked. Then take your spoon, crack open your topping and enjoy!

Common Questions

WHAT DOES CREME BRULEE TASTE LIKE?

Creme brulee is a custard topped with torched sugar, giving it a hard top that you crack through to get to the custard. This Maple Creme Brulee is like a sweet maple pudding, and the sugar topping adds a perfect crunch!

IS CREME BRULEE THE SAME THING AS CUSTARD?

Creme brulee is a custard topped with a hardened sugar topping.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITH CREME BRULEE?

I’ve seen two common mistakes. One is getting water into the custard. The ramekins are placed in a water bath, and it’s important to avoid getting water into the ramekins. Another is using brown sugar or powdered sugar for the topping. The topping only works with regular white granulated sugar.

WHAT SHOULD CREME BRULEE LOOK LIKE OUT OF THE OVEN?

When your Creme Brulee is done, it should look mostly set. It will still be a little bit jiggly in the middle, but should otherwise look like it mostly is holding its shape.

HOW DO YOU CARAMELIZE A CREME BRULEE WITHOUT A KITCHEN TORCH?

You can use a broiler to caramelize the sugar, but keep a very close eye on it. The sugar will melt very quickly and you don’t want it to burn!

A spoonful of creme brulee above the ramekin of creme brulee

Looking for other creme brulee recipes? Check these out:

Maple Crème Brulee
Cotton Candy Creme Brulee
Red Wine Chocolate Creme Brulee

Looking for other coffee recipes? Check these out:

Mocha Meringue Pie
Peppermint Mocha Brownies

Did you try this recipe?  Review and comment below, and share a photo on Instagram and tag @flourdeliz!

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Cold Brew Creme Brulee

I know the time I listed for making this seems like a lot, but I promise this recipe is just as easy as all my others! If you make it the night before and let the creme brulees chill overnight, it will take less than an hour from start to finish, most of which is baking time!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Chill Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 4 creme brulees

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cold brew
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Diamond Crystal
  • 5 egg yolks save the whites for lots of other recipes!
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • white sugar for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  • In a saucepan, combine cream, coffee, and salt over low heat until just hot (not boiling).
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the yolks and sugar until light.
  • Stir about a quarter of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, then pour the egg mixture into the cream mixture and stir.
  • Pour into four ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish.
  • Fill the baking dish (outside the ramekins) with boiling water until water is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set.
  • Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for several hours.
  • Once the custard has set, sprinkle the tops of the custard with sugar, and torch until the sugar is browned.
  • Re-refrigerate until ready to eat, then crack and enjoy!

 

This post was updated in January 2021 with new photos and additional information about the recipe.

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4 thoughts on “Cold Brew Creme Brulee”

  • Hey Liz! I’ve been looking for a recipe using cold brew instead of using the beans my boyfriend grinds for espresso. Thanks for posting this!! I gave this a try last week and the flavor of the crème brûlée was out of this world and crazy delicious! However, the custard didn’t set as well as I had hoped it would. I didn’t see a temp listed in your recipe. but I baked it in a hot water bath for 40 minutes on 325. What temperature do you recommend?

    • I am so glad you enjoy the flavor, and I’m so sorry I left the temperature out! I will update the post now, but yes, it should be at 325 F. It’s definitely tricky because they do need to cool and refrigerate to fully set, so it’s hard to tell when you take them out if they’re done. I would suggest starting with an oven thermometer if you don’t have one to make sure your oven is heating up appropriately. If the oven temp is okay and you’ve let them refrigerate for numerous hours (I would say at least 4-6, though I tend to go overnight with it) and it still doesn’t set, you could reduce the amount a cream a little bit to see if that helps. Let me know how it goes! I’m happy to troubleshoot a bit more if needed!

      • Hey there, Liz! My second attempt was more successful than the first. I honestly think I didn’t heat the cream long enough the first time. I noticed the second time around that the custard was set with a bit of jiggle after baking for 40 minutes. Thanks again for sharing this recipe!

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