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Coffee Crème Brûlée

coffee crème brûlée

coffee crème brûlée

Crème brûlée requires very simple ingredients, so it’s all up to technique.  If you trust your hand with a blow torch, then heat things up!  Traditional crème brûlée is vanilla flavored, but you can add anything to the cream to give it a distinct taste.  Tonight we used August’s father’s Guatemala Antigua coffee beans; as The Renaissance Roaster, he roasts a few varieties himself in small batches.  If you’d like to know more about his delicious coffee and how you can get your own pound of beans, send us a message or comment below and we’ll have him get back to you!

Makes 5

1 quart of heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups of Renaissance Roaster whole coffee beans

10 egg yolks

2/3 cup of sugar, plus 5-10 tbs. for the crunchy top

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split and scraped

coffee and cream

coffee and cream

Add the coffee beans to the cream in a medium sauce pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  After it’s reached the boiling point, reduce heat to low and steep for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Five minutes before the coffee and cream steeping process is over, preheat the oven to 320 degrees F and whisk together the egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar by hand or with a machine.  Whisk until they are thickened, increased in volume, and have turned a light pale yellow.  Notice the texture and color in the video above.

strained

strained

The timing should be up for the coffee and cream, so pour this through a fine mesh strainer or a sieve into a bowl.  Discard the coffee beans.  Slowly add the strained cream to the egg yolk mixture, stirring in to fully incorporate.  If you do this too quickly, the egg yolks may coagulate.

Pour the mixture into a large measuring cup and skim off bubbles or foam, if there are any.  Using a measuring cup will make it easier to pour the mixture into ramekins for a bain-marie.  Place the ramekins on baking sheet, fill them with the mixture, then put the baking sheet in the oven and add boiling water to the baking sheet, surrounding the ramekins but not submersing them.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Once out of the oven the desserts must cool before being brûléed, so after they’ve come down to close to room temperature, transfer them to the refrigerator for 3 hours.

thicker sugar layer = crunchier top

thicker sugar layer = crunchier top

Using 5-10 tbs. of sugar, depending on desired crunchiness, evenly cover the top of each dessert.  What you see here is about 1 1/2 tbs. of sugar on this ramekin.  It’s wise to use super-fine sugar because regular sugar can give you darkened caramelized spots, but don’t worry if that happens anyway (we used regular sugar so you could see that it’s okay!).

With a kitchen blow torch from about 6″-8″ away so that you don’t set the thing on fire, make slow circles to melt the sugar.  Once the top has been achieved, put back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to set it, although some people like to eat it slightly warm so that’s up to you if you don’t want to wait.

Ale Industries Spring Fling

(Always drink responsibly.  Seek help when alcohol affects your life and the lives of those around you.  For readers of a legal drinking age.)

spring fling

spring fling

It’s the countdown for the last hours of spring before the summer solstice.  This bottle from Ale Industries had been in my fridge stash for a while, and in selecting beers to discuss tonight I realized that I had to do Spring Fling before we spring into summer!  The detailed description on the fanciful label reads that the 5.5% ABV/unknown IBU brew is inspired by the “enjoyment of sipping a perfectly brewed iced mocha,” and there’s no denying that.  The label doesn’t lie.  Into the mix goes ten pounds of coffee roasted in house at the brewery plus fifteen pounds of Rachel Dunn chocolate (who we’ve met before at the Chocolate Salon).  As a brown ale it is very mild for a beer, so the iced mocha inspiration comes through strong.  If you already dig iced coffees and beer, I think you’ll light up when you try this, as I did.  Our cat Gilligan’s interest even was piqued.

gilligan!!

gilligan!!

Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel with Kopi Luwak

(Always drink responsibly.  Seek help when alcohol affects your life and the lives of those around you.  For readers of a legal drinking age.)

civet cat coffee beer 003

Mikkeller has been around since 2006, and with over 600 varieties of beer, I have no idea how it’s been off my radar all this time.  One of Zach’s friends recommended looking for this beer after we did our food fact post #3 on Facebook and Twitter about kopi luwak.  I found Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel at Monument Wine & Spirits in Concord, where they have an excellent selection of brews; I will do several more this week, because there were some crazy finds that I had to get!  Anyway.  This beer has 10.9% alcohol by volume and comes in 8.5 oz bottles, so I bought two to fill my glass.  Let me tell you, just the fact that I get to say that I’ve had this kind of beer, in and of itself, is worth the price (around $14/bottle including tax).  This is a bitter beer, but not nearly one of the bitterest I’ve had.  The aftertaste is close to nil, so it’s fairly easy to sip.  There is a light richness to it because it is an oatmeal stout, so with the oatmeal and coffee working together, it is appropriately named with “brunch” in the title, implying a richly satisfying experience.  The coffee flavor is strong, since kopi luwak is strong in taste and aroma, so be prepared for the coffee kick that enhances the bitterness.  If it weren’t the price it is, I would probably get a bottle more often than once in a while; it is a true luxury brew.