Top | Crème Brûlée

Amaretto-Espresso Crème Brûlée

(recipe, Lou Seibert Pappas)

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The pairing of coffee and almonds is a winning duo here. The almond flavor gets a boost from the caramelized nut topping.


  1. 4 tsp. instant espresso or instant coffee granules
  2. 2 Tbsp. hot water
  3. 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  4. 6 large egg yolks
  5. ⅓ cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  6. 4 Tbsp. amaretto or Kahlúa liqueur
  7. 6 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  8. 6 Tbsp. or 12 teaspoons brown sugar (dried out briefly in the oven) or granulated sugar, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a medium bowl, dissolve the espresso or coffee powder in the hot water and stir it into the cream.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color. Add the ⅓ cup brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in the cream and liqueur.
  3. Place six 5-inch-diameter flan dishes or 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins in a baking pan. Divide the custard mixture among the dishes. Pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.
  4. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center of each custard still jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and lift the dishes from the hot water. Let cool briefly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  5. When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet. Scatter the nuts over the top of each one. Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon oven-dried brown sugar over each flan-sized custard, or 2 teaspoons sugar over each ramekin-sized custard.
  6. Using a hand-held blowtorch, caramelize the sugar by holding the torch about 4 inches from the surface of each custard and moving the torch to brown the sugar evenly. Or, preheat the broiler and place the pan about 4 inches from the heat source; watching carefully, broil until the sugar turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. (If the custards have been caramelized under the broiler, refrigerate them for 10 minutes before serving.)