Thursday, May 20, 2010

Petites Crèmes Express au Café

For some ungrounded reasons, I always thought that using cornstarch in a dish was synonymous with cheating! You know, because you are lazy in a hurry you use cornstarch in a sauce Béchamel to make it thicken faster....  Since I started this blog 148 posts ago, I have read more recipes than I thought I could and realized that some professional chefs use cornstarch in their own recipes. That changed my bias towards cornstarch and I started using it as well. Sparingly. And as the last-resort ingredient if I fail to come up with a good substitute. Let's say that I moved from a No-No to a Why-not but not to a Yes-of-course relationship with cornstarch! However, when it comes to making a quick-and-dirty-easy (pardon my French!) dessert from scratch, I don't hesitate.
These Petites Crèmes au Café are the perfect example of my ability to adopt cornstarch. But I guess, some of you might be more deterred by the coffee than the cornstarch in this recipe, n'est-ce-pas? Coffee is one of my favorite flavors : being in France these days, it's hard to resist a Macaron au café or an Eclair au café... and my children are the same. Do they drink coffee? No. Do they dip their morning tartine in my decaf coffee? You bet! Yes, I personally dip my own tartines au beurre salé in my decaf coffee in the morning... so it was impossible to tell them that it was not OK for them to do it? BUT I carefully watch them as they  trempent leurs tartines dans mon café because I don't like large chunks of bread (no matter how good the bread) floating around. AND, there is no "tremping" if they have une tartine de confiture. Butter only allowed. How many times a week do they end up spoiling my coffee? You don't want to know...
That to say that my children have been used to the flavor and taste of coffee since they were old enough to hold a piece of bread or cracker and to dip it in my morning decaf coffee... and they love it (both the "tremping" and the flavor). As a result, they can't resist the Petites Crèmes au Café, always asking if they could have une autre? I don't think they'll be having Crèmes au Café while we are in France but I am sure they'll taste des macarons au café... or another coffee ice cream when I make one. Bon Appétit!

- 16.9 Fl oz (500ml) milk
- 1.69 Fl oz (50 ml) strong decaf coffee
- 4 Tbs (30gr) light brown cane sugar
- 2 Tbs (16 gr) corn starch

  • In a pot, pour a little bit of cold mild and stir in cornstarch
  • Add the remaining milk, coffee and sugar. 
  • Stir constantly over medium heat until it thickens
  • Divide in individual ramequins and cool in the fridge
My personal Comments:
  • You could use more coffee for stronger taste or you could use coffee extract instead if you are afraid of the caffeine.
  • If you want creamier texture, use whole milk
  • If you want thicker texture, add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Keep in mind that the texture will always thicken a little bit more while in the fridge.


  1. FrancoisMay 20, 2010

    Simple and efficient!

  2. These look great! How tasty and easy! I love a dessert that can be made in advance.

  3. Funny I always use a cornstarch base for my eggs yet never thought to try them like this. I also use it to thicken sauces. Lol I remember dipping my bread in my grandmother's coffee