We recently had some friends over for a mid-week dinner. I needed a dessert that I could make ahead of time and serve with a minimum of fuss. I also wanted a dessert that would complement our slightly Middle Eastern meal.
This dessert is basically a crème caramel with different flavourings. While crème caramel can seem a little intimidating, it really is quite an easy process. My mother has been making crème caramel for years and I remember making it with her as a child and it working every time. It was always a popular dessert around our place!
So how was it?
I really enjoyed the musky aroma of the cardamom and the subtle orange flavour. Interestingly, I also felt that the addition of citrus made the dessert seem less rich (much like the lemon and ginger crème brûlée I made).
And the verdict from our guests? The dessert was very well received – I’ll definitely be making it again!
Orange cardamom flan
1 tsp cardamom seeds
Grated zest of 2 oranges
150g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
- First make the custard. Lightly crush the cardamom husks and remove the seeds. Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle. Zest the oranges.
- Place the seeds, milk, orange zest and 150g of sugar in a saucepan and heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture is warm, remove from the heat, cover and let the flavours infuse for an hour.
- Make the caramel – spread the caster sugar in an even layer in a heavy based pan. Pour half the water (60ml) over the sugar, but don’t stir. Cook until the sugar dissolves and then add the cream of tartar.
- Keep cooking (no stirring!) until the sugar changes to a dark caramel colour – it’s just starting to change in the picture below.
- Once it has reached dark caramel, then add the rest of the water (60ml) and take it off the heat. Stir quickly, making sure there are no hardened bits, then quickly divide the caramel evenly between the ramekins. Swirl each ramekin so that the caramel coats about half way up. Leave to cool completely.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
- Finish the custard – heat the milk up until it is quite warm. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks, then gradually add in the milk mixture. Go slowly so that it doesn’t curdle and don’t whisk too vigorously, you don’t want air bubbles.
- Strain the mixture then divide evenly between the ramekins.
- Fill the roasting pan with warm water, half way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover tightly with foil and cook for about 25-35 minutes – you want the outsides to be set and the centres to still be slightly jiggly.
- Leave them to cool completely before refrigerating.
- To serve, run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekin and then invert onto a dish. Pour the extra caramel on top and serve.