Coffee Brulee Spoonfuls
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee or crushed coffee beans
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup coarse sugar, raw sugar, or demerara sugar
- An 8 to 9-inch square baking dish, preferably not aluminum
- A hot-water bath
- 20 to 30 spoons, preferably long-handled
- A kitchen torch
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Heat the ground coffee, cream, half-and-half, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat just to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl just until combined. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Strain the mixture into the baking pan to smooth it and to remove the vanilla bean.
Place the pan in a hot water bath. Bake in the center of the oven until set but not too firm (it will cook a little more as it cools), 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let cool 15 minutes. Tightly cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard. (The recipe can be made up to this point and kept refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.)
Up to 4 hours before serving, fill the spoons with the chilled cooked custard by scooping each spoon into the pan of custard. Round the tops with a small spatula, or a butter knife. Keep cold. Right before serving, fire up your kitchen torch. Top each spoonful of custard with coarse sugar by sprinkling the entire surface and placing it on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining spoons. Torch the spoons until the sugar is melted and well browned, about 1 minute. Let cool 1 minute before serving.