This is a wonderful dessert to have in your repertoire. You can serve the pots for lunch or dinner, any time of the year. If you serve them in fancy cups, which you can do because of the low oven temperture, you can place a saucer underneath and kill two birds with one stone. It will take a die hard coffee drinker to ask for a cup after these!
They go well after nearly any entree, but if you serve them on the cool side, they are great after spicy dishes such as the Lamb Tagine, The Shrimp Creole, a curry, or even the Chicken Chili. After Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream, these are my favorites!
This is definitely a rich but lite dessert. Whatever you do, dont try substituting milk for the cream. If you must, make something else and save these for a time when you are not watching your figure! You will be sorry if you do.
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 vanilla bean, split
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Chocolate chavings or espresso beans for garnish
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Combine heavy cream, half-and-half, vanilla bean, and sugar in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 180 degrees F. Stir in instant espresso until dissolved.
Place egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl and temper the yolks by gradually adding some of the hot cream mixture.
Return the egg mixture to the pan with the remaining cream mixture. Stir in the vanilla. Strain custard and then ladle 5 to 6 ounces into 8 custard cups or ramekins.
Bake, covered, in a water bath for about 40 minutes or until set. Check at 30 minutes; you may need to reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F for the remaining 10 minutes. The centers should not be firm. They should have the consistency of creme brulee.
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate if not serving right away. Bring to room temperature before serving. Garnish with whipped cream.
Adapted from Crescent City Coolbook