CUSTARD! Eggs, cream, sugar. What’s NOT to like?! Added bonus: for a lady & lover on a budget, this Valentine’s Day dessert doesn’t have to break the bank & more often than not, all three of those items are already in my cupboard or fridge. I have to admit, I got a juicer for Christmas & picked up a carton of fresh turmeric root which has been a delicious addition! That beautiful orange root really was the inspiration for this tastebud-busting dish. It pairs freshly grated turmeric & lime to pack a zesty punch, along with a bit of fresh squeezed lime juice that is tart but tempered by the creamy custard. CARAMEL! Butter, cream, sugar. I’m seeing a trend… very unlike me, I did not have any butter but I did happen to have a new (FIRST!) jar of ghee – even better! That got me thinking: how could I put a twist on this? The first thing that came to mind (and pretty catchy if i do say so myself), curried caramel. I actually googled it and could not find a single thing which was reminiscent of that. Now again, I’m working on a budget & also found out about this contest pretty last minute (lucky for me, I have Tuesdays off)! I would love the opportunity to make a curry mix from fresh herbs/spices but alas, I found myself scouring the bottle spice aisle. Nothing was cutting it for me (perfectionist much?) & then there it was – one lone bottle of “Chinese Five Spice Blend” BUT it had exactly the flavors I was looking for: anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper. A sweet, savory, spicy concoction. With jar in hand, I was off, homebound in excitement & anticipation of bringing this brain baby of a dessert to life! Speaking of, my taste-tester is on his way….
1 cup organic heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
2 limes, zested (use one for juice)
2 Tbsp turmeric, grated
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp organic ghee
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Five Spice Blend (anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper)
1/2 Tbsp nutmeg
1 tsp cumin
*candied ginger for garnish*
Zest both limes & turmeric into a bowl. Set one of the limes aside for later.
In a medium bowl: mix heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar & salt. Do not whip, just stir until yolks are mixed in. Pour raw custard into pot & cook over medium heat, stirring consistently for about 5 minutes to avoid egg cooking to pan. When it begins to thicken (you may see chunks, that’s okay as long as it’s not turning into scrambled eggs!), keep stirring for another minute or so. You can always lower the heat or take it off the heat to avoid overcooking. Once off the heat, stir vigorously or whip with a spoon to smooth out chunks.
Transfer hot custard into individual ceramic serving dishes, so it can begin cooling.
Grab that lime you set aside, cut in half & squeeze both halves into the bowl with lime zest & turmeric. Stir until it is all mixed evenly. Portion fresh mixture into serving dishes & fold gently into custard. Cover with foil & place in fridge to chill for 2 hours.
In medium saucepan: mix cream, brown sugar, ghee & salt and continually stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved & ghee is melted. It should be thicker at this point; add vanilla & stir for another minute or so and then remove from heat.
[I realized at this point that I had way more caramel than I needed for this recipe, so I split it in half & jarred some plain caramel for the future]
Pour half the caramel into a bowl and add Five Spice Blend (or homemade blend), nutmeg & cumin. Mix in well. Feel free to season to taste! Cover with foil & put in fridge to cool.
After 2 hours, remove custard & caramel from fridge. Stir caramel to warm it up a bit & make it ideal for drizzling. Top custard with caramel & candied ginger… and surprise your mouth!
CHEF’S NOTE: I wanted to show off the vibrant color of the custard in the pictures & went with drizzled caramel but found that the flavors in the caramel were overpowered a bit & there wasn’t enough caramel to go around bite for bite. I would definitely suggest covering the entire top with the caramel for a more balanced flavor experience. I mean, the caramel is crazy good enough to eat alone, which is also strongly recommended 😉