COFFEE, CINNAMON, AND HONEY CRÈME BRÛLÉE
by John Folse
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tbs. instant coffee
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt
9 large egg yolks
Whipped cream, raspberries, and mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Fill a teakettle with water and bring to a boil. Put six 6-oz. ramekins (about 3 inches in diameter and 1-3/4 inches deep) in a baking dish that’s at least as deep as the ramekins.
In a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan, whisk the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the honey, instant coffee, cinnamon, and salt. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. (Do not boil.)
In a large bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks. Gently whisk about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into the yolks and stir for about 30 seconds to temper the yolks. Then gently whisk in the remaining cream mixture, stirring for about 15 seconds to blend. Use a light hand—you don’t want to make the mixture frothy, or the baked custards will have a foamy-looking surface.
Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or heatproof bowl with a spout. Distribute the custard equally among the ramekins in the roasting pan. Slowly pour the hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins, being careful not to get water in the custards.
Bake the custards until the edges are set about 1/3 inch in from the sides of the ramekins and the center is slightly jiggly (like Jell-O), about 1 hour. To test for doneness, reach into the oven with tongs and give one of the ramekins a gentle shake or nudge. If the custard responds with a wavelike motion rather than a slight jiggle, it’s not firm enough; bake for another 5 minutes and check again.
Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, put the ramekins in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and, working with one custard at a time, top with 1 tsp. of the remaining sugar. You may need to tilt and tap the ramekin to even out the layer of sugar. Wipe any sugar off the rim of the ramekin.
Hold a kitchen torch flame 2 to 3 inches from the top of the custard and slowly pass it back and forth over the surface until the sugar melts and turns a deep golden brown. Allow the sugar to cool and harden for a few minutes. Top with whipped cream, raspberries, and mint leaves, if desired, and serve immediately, before the sugar softens and gets sticky.
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