Light Coffee and Cardamom Cream

As an avowed coffee addict I also adore desserts containing my favourite drug. Last week I thought it was high time I tried to make one on my own. Browsing through my cookery books I was tempted to make not the easiest coffee éclairs, but finally opted for the cream recipe I found in “Le meilleur et le plus simple de Robuchon (The best and the easiest by Robuchon).

Even though he doesn’t have anything in common with coffee, Joël Robuchon is worth mentioning here for those who have never heard about him. He is the chef, who has collected the biggest number of Michelin starts in the world (26!) and whose most famous recipe was… potato purée! Several years ago Robuchon retired, travelled all around the world, especially to Asia and ended up creating a new “open kitchen” concept of restaurants. His “Ateliers” have been opened in several countries in the world. Click here if you want to learn a bit more about this extraordinary and – what is rare among the big chefs – humble and truly nice man.

Let’s go back to the cream. The recipe didn’t call for coffee, but I saw modifying it would not be a big problem. As the title promised, it was very easy indeed and I say this, conscious of the fact that many people dread the hot water bath, or “bain marie”, necessary in this recipe. I don’t know why I added cardamom, but it proved a wise decision, since it added dynamism and complexity. The coffee-cardamom combination creates a refreshing, elegant and serious dessert, particularly pleasant on hot days. As almost always I have slightly modified the basic cream recipe.

Preparation: 1 hour + at least 2 – 3 hours in the fridge

Calories: approx. 4 x 155 kcal (if using skimmed milk and real sugar)

Special equipment:

3 or 4 individual baking dishes

Ingredients (makes 4 small or 3 medium creams):

400 ml milk (I used skimmed)

4 egg yolks

4 tablespoons sugar (or sweetener)

2 heaped tablespoons instant coffee or 2 very small and very strong espresso)

2 pods of cardamom

Pour the milk into a pan.

Crush the cardamom pods and throw them with the grains to the milk.

Slowly bring the milk to boil.

Put aside and let the cardamom infuse for about 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 140°C.

Combine the yolks, the sugar and the coffee (cold if using espresso).

Strain the cardamom milk into the bowl with egg yolks.

Discard the cardamom and wash the pan.

Mix everything with a spoon and pour into the pan.

Heat the mixture for about 10 minutes (without boiling).

Put aside.

Boil a big amount of water.

Prepare a baking dish at least as high as the individual cream dishes and big enough to contain all the creams.

Strain the cream mixture into the individual dishes.

Place them in the big baking dish.

Fill the big dish with boiling water so that half of the creams is covered.

Cover the creams tightly with aluminium foil and put (very carefully!) into the oven.

(This step is very important to avoid a thick “skin” forming on the top of the creams.)

Bake for about 25 minutes (the creams are ready when only the centre is slightly trembling, but the rest is set).

Let them chill and put into the fridge for several hours.

Serve very cold.

26 Replies to “Light Coffee and Cardamom Cream”

  1. I’m not a huge fan of the taste of coffee in cooking (although I love it on its own) – when it’s the predominant flavour though I’m thinking it would be delicious. I just bought some cardamom pods too, so am on the lookout for recipes to use them at the moment.

    Looks really nice – definitely something to give a try when my oven is working again – thanks!

    1. Thank you Charles. You might try it without coffee, or maybe chocolate and cardamom??? I was once left without the oven just for three days and really missed it, so I understand what you are going through. I hope you’ll repair yours very soon.

      1. Ah, I forgot to say that I made some cherry brandy and apricot brandy this weekend. They’re sitting in their big jars at the moment looking very delicious. So looking forward to drinking some and they’re going to make wonderful Christmas gifts… if all goes to plan!

        Thanks so much for the idea 🙂

        1. Charles, thank you for writing to me. I am thrilled to learn I have encouraged you to make them! I keep my fingers crossed! (I have also made today another fruit liqueur, I shall post about it soon…). Let me know if, after straining the cherries you look for ideas how to use them (of course unless you finish them straight from the jar)! And of course let me know if you have any problems or questions. Good luck!

  2. Joel’s potato purée is on my to try list, its almost potato flavoured butter:) I love cardamom cream, its absolutely divine. I made cardamom cream cookies and they were divine also. Never tried cardamom and coffee and since I am having coffee now, I decided to add powdered cardamom. Not so divine, its OK:( I guess it would be better with milk coffee, not black coffee which I am having.

    1. 250 g butter with 1 kg potatoes. I have never tried it because I’m afraid I’d finish the whole purée on my own and then have nightmares till the end of my life 😉
      I love coffee with cardamom and sometimes put grains in my Italian coffee machine when making coffee, so probably that’s why I decided to put cardamom. I was looking for a spice to go with coffee.
      On the other hand, powdered cardamom is nothing in comparison with the whole freshly ground pods (it’s one of these condiments which lose a lot when ground and left for a long time). You should try both to see the difference. Powdered cardamom doesn’t have this fresh dynamic note any more.

      1. I thought the magic formula was one part butter to two parts potato, with bit of milk. Unless you are quoting the light version for those on a diet:). One day I plan to make it with 25 grams butter and 50 grams potatoes, thats not too bad.

        1. Mr. Three-Cookies, in my small Robuchon book the recipe says 250g butter + 1 kg potatoes. I already have problems imagining 250g, not to mention 500g! Good idea! One potato and 25g butter!

            1. I have never seen this here. It might be good if the real cardamom was used. I remember many years ago I was very fond of chocolate flavoured coffee. My friends, coffee purists, were shocked, but I really liked it from time to time.

  3. How lovely! I love cardamom and I love coffee too! Never tried the two together though when I make Indian tea (Chai), I always add green cardamom pods and love it…I will have to give this a go…I like the sound of it too ‘cos it is a relatively healthy dessert…Thanks for sharing…

    250gms of butter with 1 kg potatoes…now, that is a yummy combination but since I have no self-control, a very bad idea for me to be making it….sounds delish though!

    1. Thank you, Shilpa. If you knew how many people hate cardamom… I know now where I took my idea to add cardamom to my coffee! I must have tasted it in the Indian chai (which is too sweet for me, I drink coffee and tea without sugar and chai is always served very sweet I think). This cream is healthy and extremely low-calorie (that is why I have put the number of kilocalories!). No fat added, it works very well with skimmed milk and it’s not very sweet.
      That is why you will never find Robuchon’s purée on my blog 😉 Although I would love to taste it, a very small amount.

      1. On this – you just changed my life… I’m sitting here drinking a big cup of fresh coffee with some crushed cardamom seeds inside… my God it’s good!

        1. Charles, giving food or drink ideas to my readers is what makes me think food blogging is worth the efforts! I am happy I gave you the idea of this combination!

  4. Sissi, you must have a very sophisticated pallet, this combination does sound amazing, though I know for sure I would NEVER have come up with it! BTW I also can’t deal with very sweet dessert, yesterday my little girl and I baked 2 loafs of cakes using pineapple juice, mildly sweet, definitely more pleasant!

    1. Thank you, Jeno. I am very flattered 🙂 I have always had problems with very sweet – or rather standard – sweets. My mum always used to put less sugar in her cakes, maybe that is why I prefer moderately sweet desserts.

  5. Hi Sissi,
    This dessert looks beautiful! I also love your Chewy Hazelnut Cookies you posted back in April and I will be sure to try them!
    Really beautiful recipes on your blog, thank you.

    1. Thank you, Angie, and welcome to my blog! If you don’t drink coffee, this cream will be particularly stimulating 🙂

  6. Hi Sissi!! Cardamom is one of my favorite. Because I love this so much, I drink chai every morning… my Indian neighbor taught me how to make it. So I grind cardamom for every cup of chai. I’m very serious! Now with coffee, I never thought of this idea! This looks delicious!!! I will even try a cup of coffee with cardamom next time!

    1. Thank you, Nami! You drinking chai every morning must be as incredible as me having a miso soup for breakfast 😉

  7. What a unique coffee flavour (to me at least), as a coffee lover I should definitely try this one out it looks so intriguing.

    1. Thank you! If she likes coffee and cardamom, she would love this. Especially during the hot days I imagine you have now in the South! It is particularly refreshing!

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