CoffeeDog Craft Liqueur Crème Brûlée and a Valentine’s Day Giveaway
My first article about CoffeeDog generated so much interest that the good folks at Bulldog Brewery LA asked if I wanted to do another Giveaway, this one to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Call it a #Giveaway or a contest, I’m always up for giving someone a gift. So the good news is you all have another chance to win this very cool do it yourself craft liqueur kit.
The CoffeeDog kit has what you need to make your own stash of superb coffee and vanilla liqueur. All you have to do is supply the spirits. For more on CoffeeDog and the folks who make it, see my earlier post or visit the company’s website.
The liqueur itself has the deep, rich taste of coffee and the delightful perfume of vanilla. Drink it straight, or add it to cocktails or desserts. If you enjoy Borghetti Sport, Kahlúa, or Tia Maria, then CoffeeDog is for you. For a special Valentine’s Day dessert, try my CoffeeDog Crème brûlée. Creamy and rich, with a hint of cinnamon and a topping of burnt sugar that surrenders to the tip of your spoon, it’s romance in a ramekin.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all. To enter to win a CoffeeDog kit, leave a comment telling me your favorite Valentine’s Day dessert. The contest will close at 11:59 pm on February 15, 2016. Entrants must have a United States shipping address and be over 18 years of age. Click here for full contest details.
CoffeeDog Crème Brûlée
Dessert and after dinner coffee all in one dish. What could be better? This coffee infused take on the dessert classic is easy to do, and the best news is the custards can be made up to 2 days ahead. Don’t cheat on the caramelized topping though. That step really needs to be done just a few minutes prior to serving; the sugar will melt if caramelized too far ahead. To caramelize the sugar you can use either a blowtorch, which will yield the best, most professional looking results, or the broiler. Sometimes the broiler will heat unevenly, but even if the caramelization is not perfect, neither your guests nor your Valentine will mind.
6 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder – see Cook’s Note
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons CoffeeDog liqueur
½ cup granulated sugar
Adjust the oven rack to the center position, and preheat the oven to 300 °F. Place six 6-ounce heat-proof ramekins in a roasting pan, and set a kettle of water on to boil.
Combine the heavy cream, granulated sugar, espresso powder, and cinnamon in a heavy saucepan. Use a silicone spatula to mash the espresso powder against the side of the pan to be sure it dissolves completely. Heat over a moderate flame until small bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan, a procedure known as “scalding.”
While the cream mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the heated cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking all the while. Take care not to create a lot of bubbles and foam which will persist through the baking and create an unpleasant, almost sponge-like surface on the custard.
Set a fine mesh sieve over a measuring cup large enough to hold the custard base. Pour the custard mixture through the strainer. Discard any solids that may have collected in the sieve. Skim off and discard any remaining froth from the top of the custard base. Add the vanilla extract and CoffeeDog liqueur, and combine well.
Pour the custard into the ramekins (previously placed in a roasting pan.) Transfer the roasting pan to the center rack of the preheated oven. Add boiling water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of ramekins, and cover the roasting pan loosely with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Bake the custards until they are just set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 40 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 170 to 175 degrees F. when inserted into the center of the custard.
Remove the ramekins from pan and place on a rack. Allow the custards to cool completely before covering. If covered while still warm, condensation will form on the plastic wrap and fall back onto the custards. Once cool, cover the ramekins tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or up to 2 days.
Before caramelizing, blot the top of the custards to remove any condensation that may have accumulated. (The sugar will absorb any moisture, hindering caramelization.) Sprinkle half of the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar over the custards in an even layer. Wipe the edges of the ramekins clean. Hold a blowtorch 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the sugar and caramelize the sugar, moving the blowtorch back and forth until the sugar begins to bubble and color. Do not hold the blowtorch in one spot too long or you risk melting the custard. Repeat with the remaining half of the sugar. Be careful with the blowtorch. Get the kids and pets out of the kitchen and pay attention!
This step may also be done under a very hot broiler. Adjust the rack so that the tops of the custard are a few inches from the broiler. Watch carefully. You may have to rotate the custards to assure even caramelization.
Allow the burnt sugar topping to cool and harden for several minutes prior to serving. Do not refrigerate the custards once the sugar has been caramelized.
There are a number of commercial espresso powders on the market. Medaglia d’Oro is a fine brand, however King Arthur Espresso Powder is my choice. It has rich flavor, plenty of body, and it dissolves with ease. It is available online from King Arthur.
About blowtorches – there are a number of small, almost purse-size models available in cookware shops and online. Avoid them. Go to a hardware store and buy a real blowtorch. They are easy to use and far more efficient than the tiny ones. I suggest purchasing a torch with an adjustable flame control and a trigger start.
If you really want to go all out, get a “Universal Torch Extension Hose.” The hose attaches the fuel tank to the torch, allowing you to set the tank upright on the counter. With your hands free, it is easy to direct the flame. Without the hose, when you tilt the torch it may flame out. And yes, way back in the early eighties Bart really did buy a blowtorch for me for Christmas. To say I was surprised on Christmas morning would be an understatement.
A CoffeeDog kit was provided to me for review from Bulldog Brewery LA. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be of interest to my readers. I otherwise have no affiliation with any product, manufacturer, or site mentioned in this article.
AdriBarrCrocetti.com and Bulldog Brewery LA are co-sponsors of this Giveaway.
Note: You can click on any picture and see a slide show!