Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
⅔ cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon water
1¾ cups low-fat milk
¼ cup espresso beans, coarsely ground (see Note)
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath.
Combine ⅓ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the caramel turns a deep amber color, 5 to 6 minutes. Immediately divide among four 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups, tilting them to coat the bottom evenly.
Combine milk, coffee and the remaining ⅓ cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until steaming hot but not boiling. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.
Whisk eggs and egg white in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture. Skim foam from the surface, then ladle the custard into the caramel-lined ramekins. Place the ramekins in a small roasting pan and pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custards until they appear firm when lightly shaken, about 40 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside edge of each ramekin. Set a plate upside down on a ramekin; grasping mold and plate together, quickly turn over and jerk downward several times. The creme caramel should fall onto the plate. Scrape any leftover caramel over the custard.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Equipment: Four 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups.
Note: You can use 1 tablespoon instant coffee in place of the coffee beans. Heat with the milk and sugar in Step 3.