Friday, January 28, 2011

Coffee Custard

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?

Bench notes:
- 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.

Coffee Custard
6 servings

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.


Patricia @ ButterYum said...

My taste buds are doing a happy dance.


Victoria said...

I love coffee ice cream - coffee anything, and this looks so beautiful.

I can't make it for a few weeks because I will be alone for the next two and can't possibly have this in the refrigerator under those circumstances.

And I am wondering on my quest for a licorice dessert.............maybe I can make it once and then try it again replacing the coffee beans with star anise and the brandy with Sambuca.

Lucy said...

I haven't made a coffee-flavoured pudding in a while now and this looks just the thing to break that trend. Delicious!

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

I tend to prefer custard-y type things too (I hope this doesn't mean I am secretly a man?!?). :) But then again ... there are pies, cakes, and cookies that definitely strike my fancy. Okay, maybe it's just dessert in general. And yours looks fantastic!

pastry studio said...

Hello, everybody!

Victoria, I really like your idea for a star anise, sambuca pairing. I think maybe about 1 1/2 - 2 pieces would probably do the trick, tasting for strength as it steeps. Let me know if you try it! I think it would be delicious with that fresh spiced cherry compote I've posted (the one with the chocolate cake)......

Plum, I think women love custard just as much as men but they tend to have lots of other favorites, too!

Daphne said...

I can't wait to try this one! I'm wondering if there is a particular type of coffee bean you would recommend? We usually drink Peet's French Roast, and I'm wondering how the different varieties might impart the flavor of the custard

pastry studio said...

Daphne, that's exactly what I used! Peet's packs a lot of flavor and I prefer using their Dark French Roast for pastries and desserts. Hope you enjoy it!

Gemma said...

the custard looks silky and rich. I'm dying to try this recipe soon.

Anonymous said...

It looks delicious! The cofee with brandy or rum is always a good combination. Your blog is great.

Julie Marie said...

Coffee custard!?!? oh my word, must make now. Looks wonderful.

Marjorie said...

This recipe sounds amazing, I have made creme brulee, and all flavored puddings but have never made anything coffee flavored. Can't wait to try it. Your pictures are beautiful.

Food courts said...

I can’t wait to try this at home.

restaurants said...

This is really amazing..It tease delicious.

Jessica said...

Your food photos are amazing! I’ve been lurking on your blog for awhile and finally thought I’d say something…. your photography is excellent.

Michelle said...

The combination of custard and coffee is great. It looks so delicious

Abigail said...

These look delicious. definitely want to try using instant coffee in my recipes.

Unknown said...

the custard was absolutely amazing! i wonder how much caffeine was in it...also, adding rum was a great idea. maybe i'll use kahlua next time.

thank you for the recipe!

pastry studio said...

Hello, Nick. You've very welcome and thanks very much for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Kahlua sounds like fun to me!!