Because of its coffee history, New Orleans became and remains a city with a strong coffee tradition. And because of the Acadians and their love of strong coffee, coffee culture is firmly established throughout the entire state of Louisiana.
In Cajun country, coffee is an afternoon tradition. It started as a custom enjoyed at home, often with a sweet treat, like coconut cake or a piece of pie, and conversation. And throughout Louisiana there was the habit of black coffee after dinner in a demitasse. The demitasse was often a stronger-than-usual brew, and was sometimes served with a bit of lemon rind and sugar.
Louisianians have always valued the taste and freshness of the brew and almost made a fetish of its preparation. Traditionally it was made in an enameled pot with almost, but not quite, boiling water ladled over the grounds, which rested in a muslin sack in a chamber inside the pot. While the coffee was dripping, milk was scalded for those who took their coffee with milk. One cup of coffee was made for each person. A second cup warranted a repeat of the ritual. Louisiana coffee and chicory adds a unique taste to this Crème Brûlée.
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- 7 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup very strong brewed coffee with chicory
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- In a large bowl, combine yolks and ¼ cup sugar; beat with a whisk until thickened. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine cream, coffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and zest; heat over medium-high until almost boiling. Remove from heat. While still hot, add 1/4 cup cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk to temper. Add remaining cream mixture to egg yolk mixture, and whisk. Strain into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout.
- Carefully pour the hot mixture into 6 (5-inch) shallow ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a large roasting pan. Fill with boiling water halfway up the sides of ramekins.Cook until just set, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and water bath, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
- Sprinkle the top of each custard with about 2 tablespoons sugar. Caramelize the tops with a kitchen torch. Alternatively, place chilled custards under a broiler until the sugar darkens. (Be careful, because the sugar continues cooking even after being removed from the flame.)