Chocolate Espresso Creme Brulee

READY IN: 2hrs 40mins




  • In a medium saucepan, combine 2 1/2 cups of cream, espresso beans and sugar. If using the vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise; scrape out vanilla seeds. Add scraped pod and seeds to cream mixture. (If using vanilla extract, it will be added later.).
  • Heat mixture until small bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 30-40 min or until cream has taken on a good coffee flavor.
  • Heat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Place 8 (1/2-3/4 c.) ramekins in shallow roasting pan.
  • Place chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup cream in metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat until melted, stirring occasionally.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until well blended. Strain espresso-cream mixture slowly into egg yolks, whisking constantly to combine. If using vanilla extract, stir into custard now.
  • Gradually whisk cream mixture into melted chocolate and then strain through a fine strainer.
  • Pour custard into ramekins. Create a water bath - add enough boiling water to roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan securely with foil.
  • Bake 50-60 min or until custards are set but still quivery like gelatin.
  • Remove ramekins with tongs from the hot water; cool on wire rack 30-40 minute or until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  • Place oven rack 8 inches from broiler. Push the brown sugar through strainer over each custard, allowing about 2 teaspoons per custard.
  • Using fingers, gently spread brown sugar to distribute evenly. Place ramekins in the shallow roasting pan again and surround with ice cubes.
  • Broil 3-6 min or until brown sugar melts and caramelizes, watching carefully to prevent burning.
  • Cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator - if made more than 4 hours ahead, topping will begin to soften and will no longer be crisp -- so do this last.