Friday, January 28, 2011
Whenever I ask men to choose their favorite dessert, they nearly always answer by naming some sort of cream, custard or pudding. I don’t really have a theory about this but I fully understand why custard would be anyone’s favorite. Crème Brûlée has been such a standard on dessert menus for years along with Butterscotch Pudding, Crème Caramel or Flan. Custards and creams are super satisfying desserts that really deliver on pure flavor and comfort when made from scratch using the best ingredients.
This dessert is a very simple and delicious custard with an adult profile. It’s steeped with coffee beans and flavored with a tiny nip of brandy. It’s creamy and luscious and hits all the right after dinner notes. Perhaps you know a few good men who would especially enjoy it?
- Custards are baked in a bain marie or water bath to ensure a soft creamy texture through slow and gentle cooking. For best results, bake until the edges are set but the center area about the size of a quarter is still jiggly when you wiggle the custard cup.
- Use your favorite dark roast coffee beans for the very best flavor.
- If you want a richer, creamier texture, use 2 cups of heavy cream and eliminate the milk.
- I usually bake custards in two smaller bains marie rather than one large pan to ensure ease of handling when removing from the oven. I use tongs to remove the ramekins from the water bath.
- These custards will keep covered and refrigerated for a day. Bring to room temperature before serving.
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C whole milk
1/4 C + 1 T sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 C coffee beans
4 egg yolks
1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 t brandy or rum
1/4 C heavy cream for garnish (optional)
dark chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out six 6 oz ramekins in one or two baking pans.
Slowly bring the heavy cream, milk, sugar and pinch of salt to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the coffee beans. Stir, cover and steep for one hour.
Pour the cream mixture through a sieve to strain out the coffee beans. Reheat the mixture until just warm.
Whisk the egg yolks and slowly add the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the vanilla and brandy and whisk thoroughly.
Distribute the custard into ramekins. Pour hot water into the pan(s) until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully place the custards in the oven and bake for about 32 - 35 minutes. The edges of the custard should be set and the centers (about the size of a quarter) should jiggle slightly when the cup is gently wiggled. Remove the custards from the oven, then carefully take them out of the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool.
If you wish to garnish the custards, whisk 1/4 cup of heavy cream with a small pinch of sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop each custard with whipped cream and sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.