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Makes 3 crème brûlée

1 ¾ cups heavy cream

3 tbs 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.


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