Creme Brulee with Citrus, Cardamom and Star Anise

I apologize for the lack of entries lately -- I've been completely invested in spending most of my time with my mom, because she's my favorite.  It's hard to believe that her visit is soon coming to an end, a week to be exact.  The entire situation still seems surreal to me.  I'm hoping that the day of, I don't have a complete mental meltdown and cling to my mother's leg screaming "NO DON'T LEAVE DONT DO IT!" as she's trying to get out of the car to catch her plane, but I'm not making any promises.  ^_^

It's been a blast though -- we've been sharing recipes, she'll cook her Chinese dishes and I'll cook her some French American dishes -- one of her favorites discoveries has been the creme brulee.  She kept Ooooing and AAAaaahing over this recipe so I figure I'd share it with yall, it's pretty epic not gonna lie.  Aside from that she's been feeding me traditional Chinese medicines that make my stomach churn but I take it anyways because apparently it's good for me (or so she claims). It's just unfortunate that most of the concoctions she makes taste like feet...   just kidding mom, you're the best! But seriously, I've spent a lot of time figuring out her secret of staying forever young.  I'll share pictures soon, you'll see what I mean...

One of the first desserts I learned working in at a French restaurant was the Creme Brulee and Souffle.  Souffle is definitely the more temperamental dessert and the failure rate is much higher than creme brulee -- so we'll warm up to that recipe later.  I love this creme brulee recipe because of its soft delicate texture and of course everyone's favorite part: the crunchy burnt sugar on top, hence it's latter name -- burnt cream.   Plus it always adds a dash of sophistication and excitement to any dinner party when you bust out the torch!  I mean seriously guys, who doesn't like a little fire show?

Ingredients for Citrus Cardamom Creme Brulee:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 260 degrees F (150 degrees C) and line the bottom of a large baking pan with water.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, cardamom, citrus zest and 1/4 cup sugar and salt stirring occasionally 4 to 5 minutes, until steam rises. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Pour hot cream into yolks, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until all cream is incorporated. Pour mixture into four 6 oz. ramekins.

Place ramekins in the baking dish with water and cover the whole pan loosely with foil.  , and place dish on oven rack. Pour boiling water into dish to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover whole pan loosely with foil. Bake 60 to 75 minutes in the preheated oven, until custard is just set. Chill ramekins in refrigerator 4 to 6 hours.  Before serving, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raw sugar over each custard. Use a kitchen torch or oven broiler to brown top, 2 to 3 minutes.