Monday, February 11, 2008

Orange Blossom and Cardamom Crème Brûlée »Arabesque«

I name this one in honor of Greg Malouf's wonderful book »Arabesque«, which reveals a finer side of Middle Eastern cooking than many may be used to from Shawarma, Falafel and Baklava. Key ingredients here are orange-blossom water and cardamom, which find many uses in Middle-Eastern, North-African and South-Asian cuisine. Both should be easy to find in well-stocked supermarkets.
The trick, once again, is the infusion of flavors. Unlike making the tea creams, I chose to mix both the orange-blossom water and the cardamom into the mixture of eggs and sugar, before stirring it into the cream. This creates a more liquid egg mixture, which may require a bit longer in the oven for the eggs to set.
Here is the slightly altered basic recipe:
  1. Preheat oven to 150C/300F.
  2. Mix 200ml/7oz cream and milk each in small pot over medium heat. Heat without boiling and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk three eggs with 200ml/7oz of sugar, one teaspoon of ground cardamom and two tablespoons of orange-blossom water.
  4. Remove cream-milk mixture from heat, slowly stir the whisked eggs into hot milk-cream mixture. Pour mixture into four ramekins.
  5. In a bain marie (an oven tray filled with water half way up the sides of the dishes). Bake creams for 20-30 minutes. Remove when creams begin to set. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  6. Spread one teaspoon of sugar evenly over each cream, caramelize with a kitchen torch.

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