This fall I have been loving everything warm and spicy. Everything that brings comfort – that warm, fuzzy feeling. And there’s something about this spiced chocolate crème caramel that makes it absolutely perfect for October’s stormy days. A dark just-set custard, fragranced with soft undertones of cardamom and cinnamon, served in a pool of bitter caramel. It’s a dessert that is rich and indulgent, yet mellow and light.
Makes about 4 servings
For the caramel:
- 65 g sugar
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- ⅔ tablespoon hot water
For the chocolate custard:
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 3 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 black pepper pods, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 60 g dark chocolate
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. Coat the insides of 4 ramekins with cooking oil.
- To make the caramel, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and cold water over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, swirl the pan occasionally until the caramel has reached a dark golden colour.
- Remove from heat and add in the cold water to stop the cooking.
- Pour the caramel equally into the 4 ramekins. Do this quickly as the caramel will start to set. In case the caramel has hardened, heat it again for a few seconds until it reaches a pouring consistency. Set the ramekins aside.
- In a larger saucepan, add the milk, vanilla bean + seeds, cardamom pods, black pepper pods and cinnamon stick. Let the milk come to a light boil and remove from the heat.
- Add in the chopped chocolate and whisk together.
- Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.
- Once cool, sieve the mixture.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate milk and mix until combined. If there is any foam on top, use a spoon to skim it.
- In a deep baking tray, place the ramekins and then pour in the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking tray. Cooking these in a bath ensures even cooking.
- Bake for 50 minutes. A good way of testing if they are done is to giggle the ramekins. The centre should be almost set, not fully.
- Let the ramekins cool completely and then set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To un-mould, dip the ramekins in hot water for a few seconds. Then run a knife along the edge of the custard and flip onto a plate.