Mocha Crème Brûlées

So many macarons lately means so many spare egg yolks. And when there's egg yolks to use up there's only one possible solution: custard. Especially when your boyfriend loves custard a little more than he loves you. I'm totally cool with that. Custard is pretty amazing. Custard is especially amazing when it's in a crème brûlée.

I love a plain crème brûlée as much as anyone, but I also love playing with the flavours. When I first started baking I used to follow all sorts of different recipes whenever I wanted a different flavour custard, but after some failures and some successes I discovered that altering a classic shouldn't mean altering the recipe. Start with a trusty blank canvass recipe and add a subtle twist.

This twist incorporates two of my favourite flavours: coffee and chocolate.

As with a regular brûlée, we begin by heating the cream and vanilla until it boils.

Here's when the twisting begins. I made a chocolate and coffee paste and added it to the milk.

While you let that infuse, you can tend to your egg yolks. Whisk them with the sugar until the mixture is pale.

Combine it all then fill up your ramekins. You'll have a lot of bubbles on the surface, so try to get rid of them before baking. Leaving them there causes them to bake first and you get a weird bubble skin forming on top of the brûlées that can make it difficult to test for done-ness. If you have a blow torch that's the quickest way of popping them. If not you can use a spoon to skim them off the surface.

I served these with some raspberries, almond biscotti and raspberry swirled ice cream. The toffee keeps the dark colour from the below custard, so be careful not to burn it.

My favourite part: cracking them open.

The resultant custard was perfectly smooth and incredibly delectable: a much better result than the last time I tried an overly complex chocolate crème brûlée recipe. Simple is enough. And simple can be incredibly delicious.

This is a recipe that works in ratios. I've scaled this recipe to use the 6 egg yolks I had to use, but you can multiply or divide it based on how many yolks you need to use up.

If you like a strong coffee hit, stick with the two tablespoons in this recipe. If you like a milder coffee flavour, you might want to stick with 1 tablespoon as it was very strong.

Bite-size Brûlées


600ml cream
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
6 egg yolks
6 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee (moccona is my preference)
2 tbsp cocoa
extra caster sugar for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan forced/300°F). Place 6 x 1/2 cup capacity ramekins in a baking dish large enough to hold them.
  2. Place cream in small saucepan with vanilla bean paste and stir over medium heat until cream just begins to boil; remove from heat.
  3. Mix coffee and cocoa with just enough boiling water to form a smooth paste. Add to the cream mixture and stir to combine; set aside for 10 minutes to infuse.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolk and caster sugar until light and creamy.
  5. Gradually, whisk cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture until well combined. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a jug; pour into the ramekins. Remove any bubbles from the surface of the custard (using a blowtorch to pop the bubbles works well). Pour boiling water into the baking dish until the water comes half way up the sides of the dishes
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until just set (custard will have a slight wobble). Transfer dishes to a tray and cool to room temperature before refrigerating; place in fridge for at least 4 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle brûlées evenly with caster sugar and use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar. Alternatively, place under a grill for 1-2 minutes (note that this option will warm the custards, especially in such a small dish, and you'll have less control over caramelizing the sugar evenly).

Download the printable version of this recipe here.


One thought on “Mocha Crème Brûlées

  1. I do love custard, but not as much as you.

    And I do love it when you make these. The combination of the creme brulee, biscotti and ice cream was just perfect.

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