“She enjoys all of life’s simple pleasures: dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking the crust of a crème brûlée with the tip of a spoon…”

That’s how the narrator describes Amélie in the beginning of the movie. It’s probably my favorite movie. I love cracking the sugar crust, too. And there has to be a piece of crust with every spoonful of custard.

If I was a character in Amélie, the narrator would say, “He enjoys pressing down the French press, stealing a cool sip of water in a hot yoga class, and opening a fresh bag of coffee beans.” What would be on your list?

espresso creme brulee

So this is the last course of the Valentine’s menu. If this meal was an episode of “Iron Chef,” blackberry was the secret ingredient. I was going to keep with the blackberry theme, and do a blackberry/ginger crème brûlée, but I was getting tired of the blackberry. Since I love finishing a meal off with a shot of espresso, I decided to go a different direction and play off the espresso rub from the last course, and make an espresso crème brûlée. I’m not sure if that’s cheating or not.

If you add chocolate to the bottom of the ramekin, you can make the crème brûlée a mocha.

creme brulee

makes 4 small ramekins, 2 large

3 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar (plus more for the top)
1 c heavy cream
1 oz (2 T) espresso, cooled

Crème brûlée goes together pretty fast. It’s the cooking it and chilling it that make it seem long.

1. Preheat the oven to 300˚.
2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thickened and pale yellow, 3-5 minutes.
3. Slowly add in the cream, whisking by hand slowly, so it doesn’t get frothy.
4. Then add the espresso.
5. Place the empty ramekins in a 1-2 inch deep baking pan.
6. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, leaving about 1/2 inch of space on top.
7. Fill the pan with warm water halfway up the side of the ramekins, and bake for about 1 hr (the centers should jiggle slightly, and not be totally firm).
8. Carefully remove them from the hot water bath. And refrigerate for at least 4 hrs or overnight.
9. When ready to eat, sprinkle the tops with sugar. Broil or torch until the sugar bubbles and brûlées. Watch them the whole time. They caramelize pretty fast, and you don’t want them to blacken.