Culinary SOS: Kona coffee crème brulee

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS: I need a recipe from Café O’Lei in Kihei, Maui. We had the best Kona coffee crème brulee and would kill for this recipe. Would you be able to get it?

Laurie Selwitz



Dear Laurie: Café O’Lei was happy to share their recipe for this smooth custard with rich coffee flavor. These desserts are perfect for company; bake them ahead and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve, then brulee as needed. Mahalo!

Kona coffee crème brulee

Total time: 40 minutes, plus cooling and chilling times

Servings: 6

Note: Adapted from Café O’Lei restaurants in Maui. To make the coffee syrup, simmer 2 cups brewed coffee until reduced to one-quarter cup, about 7 to 10 minutes.

2 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 vanilla bean, split

1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for bruleeing

5 egg yolks

1/4 cup coffee syrup (reduced from 2 cups brewed coffee, preferably Kona)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat the cream and vanilla bean over medium-high heat until the cream almost comes to a boil.

2. While the cream is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until blended.

3. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the eggs to temper, until all of the cream is incorporated. Discard the vanilla bean.


4. Stir the coffee syrup into the custard, then strain, removing any lumps.

5. Divide the custard among 6 (5-ounce) ramekins and place the ramekins into a large baking dish. Fill the dish with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

6. Gently place the baking dish in the oven. Loosely cover the top with a sheet of foil and bake until the custards are set (they will form a skin and jiggle slightly when tapped), about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

7. When the ramekins are cool enough to handle, place the custards in the refrigerator to chill completely. The custards will keep for 2 to 3 days, refrigerated.

8. Place a little sugar on top of each custard and brulee with a torch before serving.

Each serving: 433 calories; 4 grams protein; 23 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 37 grams fat; 22 grams saturated fat; 298 mg. cholesterol; 20 grams sugar; 43 mg. sodium.