The secret to a crisp caramelized crust on top is to make sure the custard's surface is dry. Use paper towels to lightly dab away excess moisture before sprinkling the custard with sugar.
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
4 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons sugar
How to Make It
Combine first 4 ingredients and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan; add cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium heat 7 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks.
Preheat oven to 300°.
Combine egg yolks, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture, stirring with whisk. Pour custard mixture evenly into 5 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Place ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.
Bake at 300° for 50 minutes or until center barely moves when ramekin is touched. Cool custards in water in pan on a wire rack. Remove ramekins from pan; cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Carefully pat the surface of each custard cup dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over each custard. Holding a kitchen blowtorch about 2 inches from the top of 1 custard, heat the sugar, moving the torch back and forth, until sugar is completely melted and caramelized (about 1 minute). Repeat procedure with remaining custard cups. Serve immediately or within 1 hour.