Mocha Creme Brulee


If coffee and cream really did get married and have a divinely beautiful baby, it would be Mocha Creme Brulee.  The softness of heaven with the delirious richness of coffee . . . oh no we didn’t!!!

Yes.  Yes we did.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Mocha Creme Brulee


6 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups heavy cream (568 grams)

6 tbsp. white sugar (90 grams)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. espresso powder


Bring cream and vanilla almost to a boil in a saucepan.  Stir occasionally and remove from heat when the cream has bubbles along the edges of the pan, but before it boils.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and white sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer until the egg mixture is light yellow and creamy.  Very slowly add the hot cream into the egg yolks, whisking the entire time you mix.  Whisk in espresso powder, skim off the foam, and place the custard mixture into ramekins.   Place your ramekins into a glass casserole dish and place in the oven.  Pour very hot water into the casserole, being careful not to get any water in the ramekins. Bring the water 3/4 up the side of the ramekins and bake at 325 for roughly 45 minutes, until the custards are set, but still kind of “shake” like jello when the pan is moved. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in water bath until you can touch the ramekins.  Remove ramekins from water bath and finish cooling in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Top with sugar and torch or broil the tops of custards before serving.

There is something so beautiful about a simple, delicious recipe– the kind where simple, beautiful ingredients really shine through.  This recipe is one of those.  I have included the weight measurements in case you want to use a kitchen scale, which makes it OHHHH so much easier to get things perfect. 🙂

Start by simmering your cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan. You want to keep the heat low, and you don’t want the mixture to boil. You just want to see bubbles barely starting to form around the edge.  Turn off the heat when you see this.

While your cream is heating, whisk your egg yolks and white sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer until it is light, yellow, and creamy looking.  I just love the whisk attachment.  I have no idea how people used to whisk everything by hand. It makes my arms tired just thinking about it.  I mean, think of making meringue by hand. Seriously.  Whew.  Pass the Kitchenaid.

Now this next part is a little tricky.  You don’t want to add your hot cream all at once to the egg yolks, or it will scramble the eggs.  So you want to keep the whisk attachment on your stand mixer going (or keep whisking, if you’re doing it by hand), and slowly drizzle the cream down the side of the bowl, whisking the entire time.  That way your hot cream will be added gradually, and you won’t have scrambled eggs (unless of course you want to make them for breakfast. 😉

Whisk your espresso powder into your egg/cream mixture, and skim the foam off the top.  Taking off some of the foam jusLadle your cream carefully into ramekins, stopping about 1/2″ from the top.  I get 6 (4 inch) ramekins from this recipe.

Mocha Creme Brulee

Put your ramekins into glass casserole dishes (I find that 3 ramekins fit nicely into a 13×9), and put the pans in your preheated oven.  When you put the dishes in the oven, fill your 13×9 casseroles with very hot water (it doesn’t have to be boiling).  Bring the water about 3/4 up the sides of the ramekins.  Try not to get any water in the ramekins, or your custards won’t set.  Just pour carefully. 🙂

Mocha Creme Brulee

Speaking of oven temperature, make sure that your oven is preheated to about 325 degrees.  Sometimes I make the oven a little bit hotter to start with (350 or so), and then adjust it down after 10 minutes, because your custards will cool the temperature off a little bit when you first put them in.  Use an oven thermometer to keep your eye on the temperature.  Keep it as close to 325 as you can.

Mocha Creme Brulee

After 40-45 minutes, move the pans slightly.  If it looks like a liquid layer moves when you move the ramekins, then you need to bake for more time. If it slightly “jiggles,” almost like jello, without any liquid movement, then it’s done.  Take your ramekins out of the oven and let them cool slightly, still sitting in the water.  When your custards have cooled for about 5-10 minutes, use hot pads to take them out of the hot water.  Place them in the fridge, covered loosely with a towel. The towel will help keep them covered and moist, while still letting them breathe.

Mocha Creme Brulee

When the little adorable cremes are cooled, it’s time to brulee, baby!  Place 1-2 tsp. of white sugar on top of each one and tilt the ramekins until the sugar is evenly coating the tops.  Then use a kitchen torch (I have this bad boy here, and trust me . . . firing dishes at the table is the way to totally make yourself the kitchen boss) to gently melt the sugar into caramel. Be careful not to burn yourself– those ramekin dishes get surprisingly hot.

Mocha Creme Brulee

It’s great if you can “broil” this sugar right at the table. Gently create caramel in front of your guests, using flame.  And seriously– the smell of delicious, melting sugar and caramel will waft across the table. It’s like magic.  You know that smell when they are making kettle corn?  It smells a little like that. Everyone without even realizing kind of sighs and breathes in, appreciatively.  At restaurants, they bring this out already bruleed. But I think that’s missing half the experience. You need to anticipate. Watch it being seductively melted. Smell the caramel being made fresh, right before your eyes.

Mocha Creme Brulee

And then the fun part– “CRACK” that sugar topping with a spoon. It’s so cool– like tapping the ice on a frozen pond, except with dessert underneath.  😉  The deliriously sweet, caramel topping, still warm, combined with the cool, creamy mocha layer underneath.  It’s bliss I tell you.  Simply bliss.

Because you did it. And I’m just so proud of you.

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