Cardamon custard is a traditional dessert from North Africa to the Persian Gulf and on into South Asia. In Saudi and Gulf recipes, rose water may be added. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world and used frequently in East Indian, Scandinavian, Arabic and Central African cuisines. It is an essential ingredient in Arabic coffee and the scent is magnificent. The most expensive spice in the world is saffron and the second is pure vanilla.
While the baking of home made custards is not as common in the West as it once was and even custard pies are not that common any more, for those remaining custard lovers, adding a cardamom custard recipe or two to your collection would be an exquisitely delicious move. You may find yourself using cardamon custard to fill pies and tarts too.
Here is a very basic recipe.
You will need:
10 egg yolks
4 cups of whole milk
4 tablespoons of sugar
16 cardamom pods, seeds removed (yields barely a teaspoon of seeds)
Ground cardamom for sprinkling
Put cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle and pound until pods open. Remove the seeds and throw away the pods. Set the seeds back in the mortar. Whisk the egg yolks then add the milk and sugar, whisking to blend. Crush the cardamom seeds until they are broken up and their perfume is released then whisk into the milk mixture. Allow the mixture to stand for about a half hour. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease eight 4-ounce custard cups.
Whisk the milk-egg mixture again then pour through a fine mesh strainer into each custard cup to within 1/2-inch of the rim. Transfer cups to a large baking pan and pour hot water into pan to come halfway up the custard cups. Dust the tops of custards with ground cardamom. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes or more, or until a knife slipped into the center of custard comes out clean. Remove the cups from the water bath and place on racks to cool completely.
This recipe is not my own invention (though I wish it was) it is fairly basic, and it, and many variations of it, can be found on the web.
But it is magnificent custard whether by itself or with baked and spiced fruits.
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