My brother-in-law and I are alike in the way that we love to celebrate other people’s birthdays, but like to keep our own very low key. So I decided to quietly honor his birthday by dropping off surprise creme brûlées. But unlike regular vanilla creme brûlées, I infused these creme brûlées with coffee and cinnamon.
Gently baked in a water bath, these creme brûlées are rich, silky, and reminiscent of a cinnamon latte. Once cooled, they can be dusted with sugar and caramelized with a hand torch to get that signature crisp topping. If you don’t have a hand torch, using the broiler setting on your oven is just as effective. Just be sure to watch very carefully because the sugar can go from golden brown to a burnt black in the blink of an eye.
5.5 oz. egg yolk (about 9 egg yolks)
4 oz. sugar
1 qt. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. instant coffee, heaping
In a heavy bottomed pot add the heavy cream, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and instant coffee. Bring to a light boil. Then remove pot from the heat.
Place a lid on the pot and let steep for 10-15 minutes
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
While whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly add 1/4th of the steeped cream mixture. Then continue to whisk and add another 1/4th of the cream mixture. Continue to whisk, and add the remaining cream mixture. (This is method is called tempering).
Next, strain the completed mixture to remove any lumps.
Pour the mixture into ramekins then place ramekins in a large rectangle cake pan (a large roast pan works well). Fill the rectangle pan with water until two-thirds up the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil then carefully place in the oven making sure to not spill water into the ramekins.
Bake for 45-55 minutes until the custard is just set.
Remove from oven and let cool, or place in fridge until ready to serve.
Prior to serving the creme brulees, sprinkle the tops liberally with sugar. Wipe away any sugar on the rim of the ramekin.
Using a hand torch, torch the sugar until golden brown. Be sure to constantly move the torch to avoid burning any areas.
*** don’t forget to save those egg whites!