This recipe is from a wonderful book called My Bombay Kitchen, by Niloufer Ichaporia King. All the recipes sound delicious, but I haven't gotten any further than the desserts chapter. It might as well be called the cardamom chapter, as it is full of amazing-sounding sweets, spiced with that fragrant green pod. More on those other recipes later, but now I think you need to get yourself into the kitchen to make this. I used egg yolks rather than whole eggs, giving me a silky, pale yellow custard with the sharp flavour of very fresh cardamom. Don't even think about using pre-ground cardamom: you won't get any appreciable flavour from it.
Cardamom caramel custard
From My Bombay Kitchen, by Niloufer Ichaporia King
⅓ cup plus ½ cup sugar
2 cups half-and-half (I used some half-and-half and some milk)
1½ teaspoons cardamom seeds, pounded in a mortar (measure the sticky black seeds, not the green pods)
4 large eggs (I used 5 yolks and 1 egg)
pinch of salt
- Combine ⅓ cup of the sugar, the half-and-half, and the cardamom in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from the heat and set aside for at least an hour to let the cardamom flavour develop.
- To make the caramel: over medium heat, stir together the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small heavy saucepan with 2 tablespoons water until it melts. Keep stirring until it darkens to dark brown (I don't like my caramel that dark, so pull it off the heat when it's a dark amber). Add a splash of water and quickly pour into a 4-cup baking dish, or into 6 small (½ cup) ramekins. Set them aside until you're ready to make the custard.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. (I went with 300℉, as I prefer a lower temperature for baked custards)
- Lightly beat the eggs with the salt, and continue whisking as you pour in the cardamom-infused cream. Strain it into the caramel-lined dish.
- Set the baking dish or ramekins into a larger baking dish. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes, until a knife inserted an inch from the centre still looks wet. The custard will thicken and firm up as it cools. Remove from the water bath.
- Cool to room temperature and then chill thoroughly, several hours or overnight. The longer you chill it, the more the caramel will melt into a sauce. Run a knife around the custard and turn it out onto a deep plate.