Sunday, June 14, 2015

Coffee and Cardamom Crème Brûlée

I am one of those people whose day cannot really start unless I drink a big cup of coffee. It´s a routine that I stick by no matter what, it's almost like a sacred act. Definitely making coffee and sitting quietly to sip it is on of my favorite moments of the day.

While drinking coffee is the most common way with which people appreciate this aromatic bean, coffee can and is used in so many sweet recipes and even in savory ones!

In baking, coffee adds a really unique, deep, complex and aromatic flavor that cannot be substituted by any other ingredient. Adding coffee to your recipes will definitely create a wow factor, of course if used properly.

Given how delicious coffee can make a recipe, I like to feature it from time to time in my recipes like I did in the extremely delicious coffee and hazelnut cake. I think it´s time for another sweet treat with coffee as the hero ingredient.

Cardamom is a spice I often use in my cooking and baking. It has a very deep, complex and somewhat citrusy flavor. I like to use it alone, but quite often in combination with other aromatic spices or ingredients. While the pairing of coffee and cardamom might seem strange to some, it is indeed quite a popular pairing in the Middle East and other parts of the world where cardamom pods are ground with coffee to add more complexity to the coffee brew.

These two intense aromatic ingredients always bring back childhood memories even though at that time I didn't drink coffee. However, I remember how delighted I was whenever the wafts released from roasting coffee reached my delicate nose especially if cardamom was added to the mix.

One of the best ways to enjoy this culinary duo is in a crème brûlée, the much beloved classic!

My take on this classic dessert will surely please as it adds a delightful twist to the traditional version we are used to.

To make 3 servings you need:
  • 3 egg yolks; the ones I used weighed 52 g (note, do freeze the eggs whites if you can't find a way to use them immediately)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of ground coffee (use the kind that you prefer; instant or freshly ground)
  • 3 pods of cardamom (slightly break it to open up the pod)
  • 35 g sugar
  • 250 ml of cream (half of 35% and half of 18%)
Combine the cream with the coffee and cardamom pods. Gently heat, and let it simmer, for about 5 min. You will start smelling the cardamom and coffee after a few minutes of heating.
While the cream is heating, mix together the yolks with the sugar. You need to whisk until you get a creamy and pale mixture.
Slowly start adding the hot cream over the egg yolks while you keep whisking vigorously. 

Pour the cream, through a sieve, into the crème brûlée ramekins and arrange them over a tray. Preheat the oven at 150 degrees C (around 300 F).
Put the tray in the oven and add enough hot water to it to cover half or two thirds of the ramekins. Be careful not to spill water into the cream.

Bake the cream for about 40 min in the preheated oven. Do check on them from time to time. Gently shake one of the ramekins and if there's a slight wobble in the center it's time to take them out from the oven. Remember that the cream will continue to cook for a while after you take it out of the oven so you don't want to leave to set completely while in the oven. In addition, you need to keep in mind that the baking time will differ depending on the ramekins you used, the oven, the quantity of cream you pour into each pot and even the tray on top of which you have put the ramekins. I used a ceramic tray so if you are using a metallic one you might need to consider this factor as these trays heat differently. In all cases, check your pots after 25 min to be on the safe side.

Once the cream pots have cooled down, put them in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle a thin layer of light brown sugar over the cream, and with the help of a torch or under the grill of your oven, caramelize the sugar and serve immediately! Bon appetit!

Here you can try another recipe for crème brûlée I made last year 

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