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Baking with Dorie: Daniel Boulud's Coffee-Cardamom Pots de Crème

I always think of pots de crème, or little pots of crème, as the French answer to our puddings. Really a baked custard, the crème can be created in just about any flavor combo. That uber-chef Daniel Boulud created them to be coffee-cardamom was a nod to the way coffee is often drunk in the Middle East: through a cardamom pod held between one's teeth.

Of course, Daniel being Daniel (and thank goodness he is), he ups the ante a bit: he caramelizes the coffee beans and cardamom pods before he pours in milk and cream and steeps everything for a few minutes. Even though this dessert is made with big flavors—you can hardly call coffee or cardamom wallflower flavors—the caramelizing step makes the flavors even bigger and more intense.

When these are baked in a professional kitchen, the custard cups, set in a roasting pan filled with water, are covered with a sheet of plastic wrap. The wrap doesn't budge or burn because the temperature is low (of course, you've got to have an oven that keeps this low temperature). If the idea of baking with plastic wrap doesn't make you comfortable, cover the set-up with foil.

Photograph taken by Gentl & Hyers

About the author: Dorie Greenspan is the author of several books on dessert, most recently Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can also be found at DorieGreenspan.com and on the Bon Appétit website, where she is a special correspondent.

Coffee-Cardamom Pots de Crème

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