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Coffee-Cardamon Pots De Creme

A Table for Two

Courtesy of Café Boulud
New York, New York

Rich, creamy custards that perfectly blend the flavors of coffee and cardamom. The inspiration for this elegant dessert was the traditional manner of drinking coffee in some Middle Eastern countries: through a cardamom pod in one's teeth.

1/2 cup coffee beans, preferably espresso roast
1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks


In a food processor or coffee grinder, combine the coffee beans and cardamom pods and pulse or grind to coarsely chop.

Transfer the chopped beans and pods to a medium saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar caramelizes to a mahogany brown. Standing away from the stove, carefully and gradually pour in the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream. The caramel will immediately seize and harden but will smooth out as it warms and the sugar melts again. When the sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth again, remove from heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar together until pale and thick. Strain the coffee mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup; discard the beans and pods. Add enough of the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream to bring the liquid to 1 cup. In order to avoid air bubbles, very gradually and gently stir the liquid into the egg mixture.

Arrange 4 pots de creme pots or custard cups in a small baking dish and fill each cup with the custard. Fill the baking dish with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the custards are set but still jiggle in the center when shaken.

Remove from the oven and let the custards sit in the water bath for 10 minutes. Lift the cups out of the water and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hours or up to 24 hours. Bring the custards to room temperature before serving.

Make 4 to 6 individual custards

From A Table for Two by Sharon O'Connor