Indian-Style Saffron and Cardamom Crème Brûlée

Author : Michelle Peters - Jones at The Tiffin Box
Recipe with pictures and further instructions:

1 cup half and half (10%)
1 cup whipping cream (35%)
Pinch of salt
6 green cardamom pods, crushed lightly
Small pinch of high quality saffron threads
5 egg yolks
1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar (to taste, I go on the higher side) + 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (for the brûlée)
Toasted, unsalted pistachios, to garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place the half and half and the whipping cream in a heavy based pot, and add the salt, and the crushed cardamom pods. Heat gently, until the cream is scalding, take off the heat and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes.

Strain the cardamom pods out of the cream, and gently reheat it. Add the saffron threads.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the 1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar until creamy. Gently pour the hot cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, whisking all the time, until the cream is all incorporated.

Pour the custard into four oven and grill safe ramekins and place the ramekins in a roasting tin with high sides. Gently pour in water into the roasting tin, until it comes up to about three quarters the side of the ramekins (we're basically using a bain marie here).

Place in the oven and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until the custard is just set, and slight wobbly in the middle. Take out of the oven, and carefully transfer the ramekins out of the roasting tin.

Cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 - 6 hours, ideally overnight.

When ready to serve, sprinkle half a tablespoon of granulated sugar on top of the creme. Use a domestic blowtorch and caramelize the sugar on top, until golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.

If you don't have a blowtorch, heat your grill up until hot. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the creme and place the ramekins on flat oven tray (I like using my rimmed cookie sheet) Place under the grill and remove as soon as the sugar is golden.