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 9x13 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.
cold brew coffee
How to prepare your pan
Place all four ramekins in the 9x13 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 9x13 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 9x13 dish! Carefully put the 9x13 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!
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!
Looking for other creme brulee recipes? Check these out:
Looking for other coffee recipes? Check these out:
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Cold Brew Creme Brulee
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup cold brew
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt Diamond Crystal
- 5 egg yolks save the whites for lots of other recipes!
- ½ cup brown sugar
- white sugar for topping
- 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.