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Mocha Crème Caramel
Crema Caramella al Mocha
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1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
Fresh berries for decoration (optional)
8 mint sprigs for decration (optional)
Stir 1 cup of the sugar and the water together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, swirling the pan over the heat to dissolve the sugar - don't stir the mixture. Cover the pan tightly and boil for 4-5 minutes, until the bubbles are thick and large. Uncover and continue boiling, while swirling the pan in a circular motion. Once the color begins to darken, continue to cook for approximately 1 more minute, until light brown in color. Remove from the heat and keep swirling the pan, as the caramel will continue to darken. Pour equal amounts of the caramel into 8 custard cups and swirl to cover the bottom and halfway up the sides. Place the custard cups into a baking dish or roasting pan just large enough to hold them all. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Mix together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl. Stir the eggs rather than whipping, as you don't want them to become foamy. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, mix together the half-and-half, milk and expresso powder. Heat over medium-high heat until steaming, but not boiling. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Pour the custard mixture into the prepared custard cups. Carefully pour hot water into the baking dish so that it comes halfway up the sides of the custard dishes. Bake for 30 minutes, until the custard has set - it will be slightly jiggly in the center. Remove the custard cups to baking racks to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
Melt both the chocolates in a small saucepan and spread a thin layer over the top of each custard. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, run a small knife around the edges of the chocolate and custard. Invert onto a small serving dish and garnish with fresh berries and a mint sprig, if you wish.
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