Most Middle Eastern milk puddings are thickened with ground nuts, rice, semolina or – at their simplest – cornflour. They tend to be a little lighter than European custards, which are thickened and set by large numbers of egg yolks. Every now and then, though, you just crave something that feels super-luxurious, and here a classic French chocolate pot is flavoured with cardamom-scented Turkish coffee for a rich, creamy and distinctly Oriental result. Serve with little chocolate marshmallows, which look very pretty, and set a jug of cold runny cream on the table, for each diner to puddle into their own personal pot.
You can buy Turkish coffee powder from Turkish or Middle Eastern grocers. Start a day ahead of time to infuse the milk.
600 ml full-cream (whole) milk
40 g Turkish coffee powder
10 cardamom pods, roughly crushed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
300 ml thick (double/heavy) cream
180 g caster (superfine) sugar
40 ml water
100 g good-quality dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), chopped
120 g egg yolks
Chocolate marshmallows, to serve
Pouring (single/light) cream or ice cream, to serve
To Serve (optional):
Chocolate arabesque wafers
Mini meringue kisses
Pine nut praline
Pour half the milk into a saucepan and add the Turkish coffee powder, cardamom pods and vanilla bean and seeds. Heat to just below boiling. Remove from the heat and leave at room temperature to infuse overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 160ºC fan-forced/180ºC. Sit eight small custard pots or ramekin dishes in a small, deep baking tin.
Strain the infused milk into a saucepan through a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin (cheesecloth). Pick out the vanilla bean and save it to perfume your sugar canister. Stir in the remaining milk and the cream and heat to just below boiling. Remove from the heat.
Combine half the sugar with the water in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring from time to time, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the liquid is clear, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer briskly for 5 minutes to form a honey-coloured caramel.
Pour the caramel into the infused cream (be careful in case it sputters) and whisk to combine. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk very gently until everything is smooth. Set aside.
Put the egg, egg yolks and remaining sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on high speed for around 3 minutes, or until thick and pale. Lower the speed and gradually dribble in the hot chocolate cream until it has all been incorporated.
Strain the mixture into a jug and pour into the pots or ramekins. Pour hot water (from the tap) into the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides. Bake for 45 minutes until the creams are just set and a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Refrigerate for 4–6 hours until firm.
Serve the chilled pots with chocolate marshmallows and with a jug of runny cream for pouring.
Eight small (approx. 140 ml) custard pots or ramekin dishes
Credits: This is an edited extract from SUQAR by Greg & Lucy Malouf published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $65 and is available in stores nationally.
Photo Credits: © Alan Benson.