Toronto, and I’d feel safe saying the rest of Canada, is waiting for the Spring. We’ve reached that point in the year where we all start looking expectantly at the empty flowerbeds, strewn still with the remains of last autumn’s debris, hoping for that first glimmer of life; that tiny speck of brilliant, fresh green amidst the somber grey-browns. We’re all needing some colour to freshen our senses and I’m drawn like a mouse to cheese by the buckets of bright, optimistic tulips lining the outsides of corner stores along the high streets. At this time of year I find my palate also yearning for something fresh and bright and exciting. All those gorgeous, comfy stews and thick, hearty soups are starting to seem old and overused and while I’ve no doubt I’ve a few left to make before the sweet peas bloom I needed a little something with attitude on the tongue this past weekend. A vibrant, exotic Red Curry was dished up with plenty of fresh Cilantro, chili and coconut and to finish this little gem, which is cool and creamy and oh, so delicately flavoured with star anise, lime and cardamom.
*note: I served these little yummers with a good dollop of home made Meyer Lemon curd on the side. Deeeelish.
Lime and Coconut Creme Brulee
1 cup whipping cream (35% fat)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 whole star anise
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
3 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
about 2 Tbsp sugar extra
– Preheat the oven to 320˚F. Put a full kettle of water on to boil. Have a deep oven dish ready (a lasagna dish or a roasting tin for example).
– put the cream, coconut milk, lime zest, star anise and cardamom in a saucepan and scald (heat until just before boiling, when little bubbles and a bit of steam come off the surface). Cover and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
– In a separate bowl beat the egg, yolks and sugar until well mixed but no longer than necessary.
– When the cream mixture has infused, stir in the egg mixture then strain the whole lot to get rid of the spices.
– Pour the custard into 6 small, individual oven proof dishes (ramekins are traditional, but I used oven proof glasses). Put the dishes in the large oven proof dish and fill the dish with hot water to come half way up the side of the ramekins.
– Bake for 20 – 25 mins until the custard is almost, but not quite, set. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room tempurature
– Refridgerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
-Just before serving, remove from fridge and sprinkle each little creme with about a teaspoon of sugar. Caramalise the sugar using either a blow torch or by placing the creme’s under a very hot grill for a few seconds.