I have an affinity for cardamom; it probably stems with my fascination for India and Sri Lanka. Cardamom is a native there. It is used in all kinds of savory dishes, Indian curries and I especially love using it in desserts. The seed of the plant from which the essential oil comes is collected in an interesting way. Instead of coming from the flowers or fruit of a plant, it grows in stalks along the base of the plant like a creeper vine along the ground. Not all seeds come to fruition at the same time so multiple harvests happen.
Cardamom is also popular in Europe with Sweden taking a quarter of all world production. There is a famous Arabic coffee that would not be the same without Cardamom. It is a major component in Sauerbraten and loves being paired with apples. It is a wonderful digestive and is used similar to anise by chewing the seeds.
The Butter Rum Pudding Cakes are a wonderful dessert which I used in one of my cooking classes at Gritman. Each person gets their own individual dessert. I was inspired by a chef in a fine cooking magazine. I prefer bitter chocolate to semi-sweet in the sauce. The rum pudding cake is already plenty sweet.
Butter Rum Pudding Cakes
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 3 large eggs, separated room temperature
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted plus 1-2 T for greasing ramekins
- Softened butter for ramekins
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (for more custard like) or 1/2 cup (for more cake like) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3 Tablespoons of light or dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Butter eight 6-ounce ceramic ovenproof ramekins. Arrange them in a baking or roasting pan(s).
In a medium bowl whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and egg yolks until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt. Pour in just enough milk (about ⅓ cup) to whisk the flour smoothly into egg yolk mixture. Then whisk remaining milk along with the rum and vanilla until smooth. The mixture will be very liquid.
Put the egg whites in a medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until egg whites begin to foam 30 to 60 seconds. Increase speed to high and beat just until the egg whites hold soft peaks when the beater is pulled away, another 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed back to medium and slowly sprinkle in the granulated sugar, another 1 minutes. Beat on high until the whites hold medium-firm peaks when the beater is pulled away, another 30 seconds.
Scrape 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold until combined. Gently incorporate the remaining egg whites evenly into batter with a folding and stirring technique. The batter will still be thin.
Portion the mixture evenly among the ramekins. The pudding cakes do not raise much; fill them to within 1/8 inch of the top. Pour warm water in the dish that the ramekins are sitting in. It is best to pour the water with a measure cup or something with a pour lip on it. You do not want to spill water in your cake batter. Bake until cakes are lightly golden and slightly puffed and when touched with a finger should feel spongy and spring back but, holds a shallow indentation about 25-35 minutes.
Use a pair of tongs or a spatula to carefully transfer the ramekins from the water bath to a rack. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before serving; Serves 8.
Cardamom Chocolate Sauce
- 6 ounces semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate
- 6 Tablespoons of butter
- 3 drops of Cardamom Essential Oil
Heat water in a medium saucepan to simmer. Combine chocolate and butter in a heat resistant bowl or double boiler. Put bowl on top of saucepan. Slowly melt chocolate and butter until combined. Take off heat. Add the Cardamom Essential Oil. Serve over the Butter Rum Pudding Cakes after chilled; makes about 3/4 of a cup.
Next week we will discuss Cassia Bark Essential Oil.