If you or your customers are looking to move beyond flowers and chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a more decadent and personal way this year, a special-occasion coffee and homemade dessert is an excellent way to show you care.
For inspiration, we turned to Bonnie Breaux, executive chef at popular Breaux Bridge eatery Café Sydnie Mae, which serves traditional seafood offerings with an upscale Cajun flair in a building that was once home to the vaunted Café Des Amis.
Café Sydnie Mae, located just a few hundred feet from picturesque Bayou Teche, regularly features a classic creme brulee made with extra-rich Louisiana duck eggs and topped with caramelized raw sugar and raspberries for a punch of sweetness and Valentine’s color.
The sugar on this crowd-pleasing treat can be caramelized under the broiler or with a kitchen torch. The dessert, which is surprisingly simple, can be made ahead of time and caramelized just before serving. Chicken eggs will work fine if you don’t have access to duck eggs.
The satisfying contrast between the creamy custard layer and hard caramelized sugar pairs nicely with our Café Special® coffee, a semi-sweet, full-bodied medium-dark roast blend that’s perfect with creamy desserts like coconut custard, bananas Foster or cheesecake.
Café Sydnie Mae’s creme brulee is just one example of the elevated comfort food at the heart of the warm and inviting eatery, which owners Chip and Lucy Durand opened last year and named in tribute to Chip's mother, the late Sydnie Mae Durand, a state lawmaker.
“People come here when they want to have a really great conversation and company,” Breaux says. “We focus on family and people visiting with each other. A lot of people say ‘This reminds me of my grandmother.’ I want to bring that memory back to people.”
The restaurant also proudly serves Community Coffee, which Breaux — who previously served Community at a Cajun-Creole restaurant in Tampa, Florida, where she was executive chef — says was never in doubt when they were planning the menu. “We always had Community in my home, so it was definitely our choice when we had to decide what to serve here,” she says.
Louisiana Duck Egg Creme Brulee
2 cups heavy cream
10 Tbsp sugar (including 6 Tbsp of raw sugar)
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
6 custard cups
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat heavy cream and 4 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan — about 6 minutes.
Beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and light.
Slowly add the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks, beating continuously with a mixer at medium-low speed, until well blended. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer and then divide it among 6 custard cups.
Arrange the custard cups in a baking pan on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill the pan with boiling water until it comes halfway up the sides of the cups.
Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until the custard is set but still jiggles in the center. Allow the custard cups to cool to room temperature without removing them from the water bath. Once cool, cover them in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of each dessert. Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast and melt the sugar topping until it’s brown and bubbly, about 30 seconds. Let the sugar topping cool, then top with fresh raspberries before serving.