Espresso Creme Brûlée

Break through the thin caramel layer and dive into the smooth and silky espresso spiked creme custard underneath.  Simple and elegant this is like the best coffee and best pudding you’ve ever had combined and is the perfect end to a meal.

I used to think that you could never beat the classic vanilla Creme Brûlée but I have to put this on an equal standing and believe me I don’t say that lightly!  I like to serve this in small coffee cups as I think it looks great.  Don’t use really fine porcelain ones as they need to be able to go into the oven without cracking, but if you are worried use ramekins instead.  You can make the creme several days in advance (Stage 11) and finish them off by just before serving which makes this an easy entertaining dessert

As for making the creme brûlée – it’s not difficult.  Try not to create too much froth when whipping the mix prior to baking, as once cooked, the froth spoils the texture of the finished creme.  If there is a fair bit of froth, skim off as much as you can without getting too hung up about it the creme brûlée will taste delicious no matter what.  I cook the Creme in a water bath as this ensures the even temperature required to get that soft, silky texture.  All this means is putting the cups/ramekins into a roasting tin and pouring water from a just boiled kettle into the tin so it comes half way up the containers.

I use a blowtorch to Brûlée the top and put the sugar on in several thin layers as I find this easier but you can caramelise under a hot grill if you prefer.  Remember You are aiming for a thin caramel that the spoon can break with a sharp tap rather than a thick impenetrable layer.  Have a look at the photos in this post if you are unsure how far to caramelise/colour the caramel as you do need it fairly dark so the caramel contrasts crisp with smooth and slightly bitter with sweet


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 350ml double cream
  • 150ml milk
  • 50ml double strength espresso
  • 2tbsp coffee liqueur (optional)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • additional 3 tbsp caster sugar for the Brûlée top



  1. Put the kettle on
  2. Turn the oven to 140c
  3.  Put the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer
  4. Add the espresso and liqueur (if using) to the cream and set aside
  5. Beat the egg yolks until pale and thick and then gradually, whisking all the time, add the hot coffee cream
  6. When combined add the 75g caster sugar and stir until dissolved
  7. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug and remove as much froth as you easily can
  8. Divide the mixture between the six cups/ramekins and set inside a roasting tin
  9. Pour the just boiled water from kettle into tin around containers until it reaches half way up the sides
  10. Place in oven and cook for 40-45 mins until creme is just set and has a slight wobble in middle
  11. Carefully take out the cups/ramekins from water bath and allow to cool at room temperature before covering with clingfilm and chilling in fridge for at least 6 hours.
  12. No more than an hour before serving, sprinkle on a very thin layer of caster sugar and caramelise. Repeat this two more times or until required thickness of caramel is reached.
  13. Return to fridge uncovered for at least 10 mins before serving



    • Lickthespoon says:

      I’ve just been reading your blog – I loved it. Having read your “about” and your favourite flavours, may I suggest should you ever make this recipe you replace the coffee liqueur with hazelnut syrup (the ones you get to flavour your coffee) as this would work really well!

  1. My mouth is watering Rosie!! This looks so good. What a smart idea to make the espresso version!! And I love that you put it in little coffee cups! It would be the perfect end to a meal with friends! Love your blog! xoxo

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