The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Vanilla Custard with Pomegranate 
Molasses and Awards

The recipe I will be sharing with you today is flavor wise, based on a classic
Crème brûlée. However we needed a bit thicker of a custard base, so we
will just be calling our dessert Vanilla Custard. Why? Simple, if we were
to serve a lovely Crème brûlée with a hot Pomegranate Molasses....
We would have soup, I am sure a delicious soup but soup non the less.

So for our dessert today, we are looking to pair a rich creamy custard
with hard caramel topping and a sweet, slightly tangy sauce. 

A custard, if you are not already familiar, is a process of thickening
cream or milk with egg yolk. Custard bases are used in a variety of dishes
from sweet desert sauces to savory quiches. Although there are a variety of
preparations used to create a custard, one basic standard is generally upheld.
This standard involves a slow and imperative technique of gradually cooking the
ingredients to ovoid curdling.

What you will need:
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 vanilla beans, split
1/4 cup raw sugar
4 ramekins
Hot water for bath
Culinary torch
4 tablespoons raw sugar for topping
Pomegranate Molasses recipe here

Let's get cooking:
In a saucepan add cream, vanilla beans and sugar.
Over a medium low heat slowly bring mixture to a low boil.
Whisking your mixture constantly, cook for about 5 minutes
making sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove your mixture from the heat source and allow
to cool to room temperature....
Whisk or stir several times while cooling.
Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl and mix throughly
until completely blended. * Avoid mixing too briskly
as not to develop a foam, gently blend instead.

While your cream mixture is cooling pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F.
Then prepare a high rimmed baking dish by placing a paper towel
or small kitchen town neatly lining the bottom of the pan.

Now that your cream mixture has cooled, slowly pour into the bowl
with your egg yolks. Stirring constantly until fully incorporated.
Strain your mixture through a fine sieve into another mixing bowl.
Pour even amounts of mixture into each ramekin and place in baking dish.
 Carefully pour enough hot water in the baking dish
to reach half way up the ramekin sides.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until set, but still jiggle in the center.
Remove from the oven and allow to stand until slightly cooled
then remove from the pan. Now allow these to sit to room temperature.
Then chill three hours to overnight.

Prior to serving remove the custards from refrigeration and
allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Then place about 1 tablespoon of raw sugar on top of each.
Spread the sugar evenly over each surface and caramelize using
your torch. This can also be done in a broiler for 3-5 minutes.
*Note: if using a broiler watch carefully and do not place them to
close to the flame.

Serve each custard with a small bowl of hot Pomegranate Molasses.

The Awards
We received a few awards late last month and will be presenting them here today.
These awards will be passed on to several other bloggers that we enjoy ourselves.
A couple words about the awards before we start. As in our last awards post...
These will be passed on with No Rules.

From Nadji

These lovely awards were passed on by our dear Nadji.
 Her blog Saveurs et Gourmandises, this is not only one of my very
most favorite sights, but an instant delight for anyone stopping by...
Her dishes are executed brilliantly and with a great deal of passion.
The photographs and presentations are always exquisite...
The site is in French so I would like to add her original message
 with the Awards translated below.

"Let's start the holidays by a distribution of prizes throughout the world and 
also returned through a blogosphere ever larger and more varied, thereby 
broadening our world view and another. A blogosphere where contacts are
 becoming easier, an area without visas or residence permits, 
a place where everyone finds his place.
A space where, for a while, we forget the economic crisis, unemployment 
and all that is wrong. A place where relationships are based on sharing and
 generosity exchange recipes and gifts, real or virtual."

So here today we are most honored to accept these awards from a
beautiful and generous friend Nadji. We would now like to extent these
awards to a few of our favorite international sites....

María José of Hecho En Casa (Spain)
Deniz of MUTFAKultesi and Bistro Carambita (Turkey)
Federica of La Cucina Di Federica (Italy)
Pierre of Pierre Cuisine  (France) site is French & English
Javier of La Cocina de Javi  (Spain)
Sara & Mike of Culorile din farfurie-Romanian  and Les plats roumaines-French (Romania)
Simona of Alison's Trials (Romania) 
Tania of Dulcis In Furno (Italy) site is in Italian & English

From Leanne

This next award was presented to us by Leanne of  My Little Sweet House.
Her blog originates from Australia and let's just say that the term "Sweet" is point on.
She never fails to whip up the most delightful of confections and treats, and some
delightful comfort foods to boot...I have had the opportunity to get to know her a
bit better recently via email, and I can assure you she is such a sweet lady.
If you are already not acquainted, please stop by...your in for several treats :)

Here we would like to pay it forward to a few of more of our favorites...
Again these sites and people provide us with delicious dishes, photography
and wonderful stories. These are also a few of my favorite people out in our
beautiful blogging world. They as well as the international sites I have mentioned,
show kindness, support and respect to those around them....

Biren of Roti n Rice
Jill of The Homegrown Gourmet 
Marisa of Cook's Book 
Patricia of Patty's Food

Enjoy~ Magic of Spice - Alisha

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