Orange and cardamom brulee
( SERVES 4 )
If you look at brûlée recipes, you'll realise that there are spectacularly differing weights and methods for the same three ingredients. No wonder it's confusing as to what brûlée really is. Don't be intimidated by the thought of making one, though. Keep the heat low, stir continuously and watch closely for the custard to thicken and take on a glossy appearance. Do not allow the eggs to scramble or curdle during cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. break the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Heat the cream with the black seeds from the cardamom pods and the zest of one orange. Simmer for 3 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Remove from the heat and set aside for 20 minutes. Beat together the egg yolks and first measure of caster sugar until pale and creamy. Strain the hot cream and stir it into the yolk mixture. Return the custard to a low heat and stir it continuously with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken, whisking quickly when it does. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the custard is almost set, remove from the heat and pour it into the 4 ramekins. Stand the ramekins in a baking dish with enough water to come halfway up the sides. Put the dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the oven and refrigerate for 1 hour at least, before serving.
- Divide the second measure of sugar and sprinkle evenly over the top of each custard, then spray with a little water. Melt the sugar under a grill until it has caramelised to a rich golden brown. Alternatively, use a kitchen blowtorch.