Blood Orange and Cardamom Custard Cups
Of all the citrus available in the winter, my absolute favorite is the blood orange. I first encountered blood oranges around seven years ago at the farmer’s market, and I was curious why this particular type of orange had the prettiest, maroonish skin, and the flesh was a gorgeous crimson hue, too. I dove into a small container of sample slices for a taste. When I took my first bite, my eyes opened wide: It was very sweet, slightly tart and brightly flavored. My mind started racing — what kind of jams or desserts could I make with this wonderful fruit?
How I came up with the Blood Orange and Rosemary Marmalade?
At that time, I was heavily into making jam; I ran a business part-time and sold jars online. I even made jam for a few weddings! For me, it’s a therapeutic activity, from the sweet aroma of cutting the fruits, to marinating the fruit in sugar and herbs, to cooking the mixture and finally canning. My favorite part is observing how the beautiful color of the fruit shines through the jam in the daylight.
BEST way to NOT have a bitter Marmalade!
One of my favorite marmalades to date is my Blood Orange and Rosemary Marmalade. (You can find the recipe in my cookbook, “Mumbai Modern.”) I tend to use the zest and flesh of the blood orange, but remove the white pith because it’s bitter. The earthy rosemary cuts through the sweetness, and the result makes a fantastic addition to a cheeseboard. It’s also wonderful simply slathered on a slice of sourdough toast with a layer of salted butter, and makes a great gift for friends and family.
Blood orange season is short, usually from January to March. So I tend to use blood oranges as much as I can this time of year, whether it’s for marmalades or blood orange curd for gifting, or in cakes, cookies and tarts.
RIFF on the Classic Banana Pudding!
This particular dessert is my riff on the classic banana pudding, typically layers of vanilla custard, Nilla wafers and banana slices.
Ingredients for the Blood Orange and Cardamom Custard:
The ingredients for the blood orange and cardamom custard are:
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream makes for a velvety and creamy custard. Do not substitute it with whole milk, because the results will not be the same.
- Ground Cardamom: I use cardamom seeds, and grind them fresh, because it does impart the best flavor.
- Egg Yolks: Egg yolks make for a denser and creamy custard.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar helps to provide the sweetness to the custard. This custard is not too sweet.
- Cornstarch: It helps the custard to reach a thick consistency.
- Blood orange juice and zest: Zest provides a lot of great flavor to the end product, along with the juice. Juice also gives the custard a pretty color.
- Vanilla extract
How to make the Blood Orange and Cardamom Custard?
Instead, I make a blood orange and cardamom custard — the floral touch of cardamom with the slightly tart blood orange makes a great pairing. While the heavy cream and cardamom heat up on the stove, I whip the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until they turn pale yellow. (The cornstarch helps the custard reach a thick consistency.) Then I whisk in blood orange juice and zest, which has a ton of flavor.
If you’ve never made custard or lemon curd before, this part might sound intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy: To temper the mixture, you add a little bit of heavy cream, whisk, then add a little bit more, so you don’t scramble the eggs. After heating the custard until thickened, you strain it to remove the zest — and any possible bits of scrambled egg — and then let it set in the fridge for a few hours.
You fold some whipped cream into the cooled custard for a lighter texture, along with Nilla wafers and blood orange slices, ideally in glasses so you can see the distinct layers.
Decorations and Garnishes
My favorite part about making desserts is the decoration and garnishes. This is completely optional, but hey, given a choice, would you eat a dessert that is visually appealing, or is served as is without any fancy fixins? I pick the former. That’s why I pipe the top with whipped cream, along with a garnish of candied blood orange slices, blood orange zest and edible gold. Edible gold is easily available online, and adds quite a touch of elegance to an otherwise simple dessert.
If you make the candied blood orange slices, know that they’re a delightful snack to have around. They firm up just like any other candied fruit, and are slightly chewy, sweet and citrusy. They make an amazing addition to a cheese board, or can be a great gift for hosts.
Finally, the puddings need to sit for a few hours in the fridge so that all the layers meld together, but they’re totally worth the wait.
I have a tons of blood orange recipes on the blog. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed making them. Such as these below:
If you do make this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on the blog.