Monday, December 28, 2009

Eggs, Cardamom and a Recipe for Sugar Free Cardamom Custard Cups

My chickens just won't stop laying eggs.
I'm not complaining. I love our eggs and I love our sweet hens. There's not a crabby one in the bunch.
I'm rather astounded, actually. Out of 12 laying hens, I regularly get 6 to 10 eggs a day - in the coldest and darkest days of winter!

I consider myself one very lucky cook.

Still, this is far too many eggs for 2 people to consume. I sell them to friends. This Christmas I gave some away as gifts. And I've still ended up with too many eggs.

Now, Mr CC luvvvs custard - which he gets fairly often in the form of home made ice cream. But when I was moaning about what to do with so many eggs, he asked would I make cooked custard - you know, in cups? Right there I was off and running . . . mentally using up as many eggs as I could manage.
Not content to make just any custard, my nose went hunting through the spice closet and came up with - cardamom.
Cardamom is such a regal spice. Kind of citrus-y, minty, licorice-y . . . no, that doesn't really describe. It has a flavor all its own: deep and warmly aromatic when crushed; a bit ethereal thereafter, leaving you wondering just what was that perfume?

Traditionally used in sweet breads and cakes, cardamom is also an ingredient in many types of chai. It's also used medicinally as a digestive aid in many parts of the world.

In my humble opinion, one should only buy cardamom from an organic source and in its cute little green pod. The flavor and freshness will last longer. For me, ground cardamom is for garnish only.

Christine's Recipe for Sugar-Free Baked Cardamom Custard Cups
(print recipe)
Recipe may be cut in half
10 egg yolks (see Cook's Notes)
4 cups 2% milk
7 packets of Splenda (or more to your liking) (equals approx. 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar)
16 cardamom pods, split, seeds removed (yields 1 scant teaspoon seeds)
Ground cardamom for dusting
Place cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle and lightly pound until pods open.
Remove the seeds and discard the pods. Set the seeds aside in the mortar.
Lightly whisk the egg yolks then add the milk and the Splenda, whisking to blend.
Crush the cardamom seeds until they are broken up and their aroma is released then whisk into the milk mixture.
Allow the mixture to steep for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 275-degrees.
Lightly spray 6 to 8 4-ounce custard cups with non-stick spray. Wipe each cup with a paper towel to take up the excess and evenly distribute the spray.
Gently whisk the milk-egg mixture then pour through a fine mesh strainer into each custard cup to within 1/2-inch of the rim.
Transfer cups to a large baking pan and pour hot water into pan to come halfway up the custard cups.
Dust the tops of each custard with ground cardamom, if desired. (See Cook's Notes)
Bake in the oven for 60 minutes or more, or until a knife slipped into the center of a custard comes out clean.
Remove from the cups from the water bath (bain marie) and place on racks to cool completely.
Refrigerate for up to two days.

Cook's Notes:
Ten egg yolks to 4 cups of milk will make a very soft, creamy custard. If you prefer yours firmer, use 8 egg yolks instead.

To dust the custards with the ground cardamom, place a teaspoon or so of the ground spice in a small, fine mesh sieve. Prior to baking, hold the sieve over a custard and lightly tap the side of the sieve. The spice will fall to the top of the custard. Repeat for all the cups then bake.

The ultimate comfort food, my mother would make us kids baked custard when we were recovering from colds, flu, measels, and mumps. I can still smell the aromas of the cinnamon and nutmeg that she sprinkled over the top of each cup and that permeated the kitchen as the custards were baking.

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Mmm, very nourishing winter dessert, although great at any time of the year.

  2. Look at all those beautiful (and delicious) eggs!

  3. Thanks Anne. Custard may become my Yikes-I've-got-too-many-eggs! fallback recipe.

    They will be waiting for you when you return, Simona. :)

    I'd love to see how you use cardamom, Sophie. On my way to your blog now...

  4. I think it's SO cool about your hens and the eggs they provide. Also cool is this recipe. Yum! Lucky Mr. CC. ;-)


  5. Thanks Paz! Mr CC does indeed consider himself lucky.

  6. wow, look at that, I'm already drooling, great color, looks delicious


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