A few weeks ago, I posted an Instagram Story poll asking which flavor combination of crème brûlée people would prefer to eat: Lavender of Coffee Cardamom. The latter won in a landslide with people sending messages sharing their love of this spiced flavor combination. So, here it is! Coffee Cardamom Crème Brûlée. A silky custard steeped in dark roasted coffee and lightly sweet-spicy crushed cardamom. To achieve the perfect texture, crème brûlée is baked in a water bath until the edges are set and the center remains jiggly. That jiggly center is key to a silky custard, so resist the urge to keep baking until it’s set. The centers set after chilling, at which time they’re ready for their caramelized topping that shatters when tapped with a spoon. Beneath the brittle top of caramelized sugar lies a creamy custard waiting to be devoured.
Coffee Cardamom Crème Brûlée
Makes 3 crème brûlée
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons dark roast coffee beans, medium-coarse ground
5 cardamom pods, crushed
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 large eggs
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
Pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 325F. Place three 5-inch round creme brulee ramekins in a large roasting pan or baking pan with high sides.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, coffee beans, cardamom pods, vanilla bean seeds and scraped pod. Set over medium-high heat and bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil and set aside. Strain the coffee cardamom cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Set saucepan back over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar, and salt. Using a ladle, or small measure cup, slowly pour the cardamom coffee cream mixture in a steady stream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (this will prevent the eggs from curdling). Gradually add the remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly, until it has all been added. Strain though a fine mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup. Divide the custard evenly among the ramekins. Place the pan into the oven. Add the hot kettle water to the pan until it comes half-way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custards for 15-16 minutes or until the edges are set and the centers still jiggle (nudge the pan lightly in the oven to check for the jiggle). Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove ramekins from the water bath and set back onto the wire rack to cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days covered.
To serve, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over each custard. Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar until it bubbles, caramelizes into a deep golden amber, and develops a smooth surface. Serve immediately.