Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cardamom Mango Custard

Update: For the Mango-Custard that ended up much more mango-y, try here

I call this cardamom-mango custard because the cardamom ended up being the dominant flavor. The mango nectar I used for mango flavoring wasn’t strong enough to become the dominant taste without making the custard too runny. It still tasted good, but wasn’t quite what I was looking for. This was also my first time trying to make a pastry cream, and it didn’t go exactly as other recipes said it should. When I mixed my tempered eggs back into the milk mixture, the custard solidified within 30 seconds or so. It wasn’t even possible to let it boil for a minute or so. I have a feeling what happened is that while I was tempering the eggs, the pot got too hot. The result wasn’t at all ruinous, and it actually thinned out nicely once the mango nectar was added. All in all this was quite tasty, with lots of subtle flavoring, but just wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I’m going to try again next weekend with some tweaks in the recipe and a more strongly flavored source of mango.

Cardamom-Mango Custard (pastry cream)

Makes ~ 4 ½ cups

4 Tbs cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 package saffron powder (.125 grams)
1 Tbs vanilla paste
3 cups milk
8 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
6 Tbs corn starch
1 cup mango nectar

1. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Beat in the corn starch. Set aside.

2. Place the crushed cardamom pods in a heavy bottomed sauce pan (DO NOT USE A GLASS OR PYREX SAUCE PAN/POT, YOU WILL BLOW IT UP, TRUST ME) over medium high heat. Cook until the pods are starting to brown. Add the milk, be careful, the milk will start by foaming when it first hits the pan.

3. Add the saffron and the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Heat the mixture until it is just below a boil, and then remove it from the heat.

4. Temper your eggs by pouring about a third of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Pour the milk in a thin stream and whisk the eggs constantly. Once thoroughly mixed, add the mixture back into the pit with the remaining milk, and put it back over the heat.

5. Stir the mixture constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. The mixture will quickly begin to thicken. Continue stirring until the entire mixture is thick.

6. Strain the mixture over a large bowl. It might be thick enough that you have to force it through the strainer with your spatula.

7. Fold in the mango juice. The custard should thin considerably. Pour into your serving dishes (glasses or bowls), and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, this prevents a film from forming.

8. Refrigerate for several hours, until ready to serve.

As an added experiment, I took most of the custard I had and ran it through an ice cream machine I borrowed from a friend. The result wasn’t bad, but because of the lack of cream (the recipe uses milk instead), it wasn’t quite as rich as ice cream is. I think it was better as a custard instead.

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