Crème brûlée is a perennial crowd-pleaser. Its crispy, caramelized surface combined with its creamy, custardy bottom creates an irresistible texture and satisfyingly sweet taste that acts as a canvas for a ton of creative flavor variations, from dark chocolate to parsnip crème brûlée. These bold twists, while exciting, can sometimes take away from the charm of the dish by overwhelming rather than complementing the delicate flavors in the dessert. If you want to try out a new sophisticated flavor that's different but subtle enough to let the dish shine, try using cardamom for a balanced bite.
Cardamom is a spice related to ginger, most commonly used in Indian cuisine. It has a warm, slightly floral taste and a sweet and earthy smell. Its flavor really pops when combined with sugar, so it is often added to other drinks and desserts, such as Indian kulfi and masala chai. When added to crème brûlée, cardamom elevates the custard with a cozy aroma while bringing nuance to the decadent sugar crust. It is an excellent option for those who love other warming dishes such as nutmeg cake or classic cinnamon rolls.
How To Add Cardamom To Crème Brûlée
The best way to incorporate cardamom into your crème brûlée is by steeping it as you prepare your custard mixture. Start by heating the cream for the base, then add two cardamom pods or ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom into the cream and allow it to infuse its flavor. Taste as you go, and once it has reached your preferred level of intensity, proceed to make the rest of the custard as you normally would. Once the custard mixture is infused, strain out the pods. (Note: While you can use either cardamom pods or ground cardamom, whole pods are preferred as they are easy to strain out and do not run the risk of making the mixture grainy).
Cardamom is also an excellent team player, usually being used as one in a blend of flavorings in most recipes. As such, we encourage adding one or two other ingredients to your crème brûlée once you're comfortable with the initial technique. Some particularly delicious options include orange extract, as citrus is often paired with the spice, lavender to complement cardamom's floral notes, or black tea for a chai-inspired dessert.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.