Monday, May 19, 2008

Almond, M A P L E and Cardamom 'Pots de Creme' (sugarless)

The brain was in overdrive, as it always is, in anticipation of creating new & exciting dishes :)
I was thinking 'Pots de Creme'! With such an appealing name it was not a tough choice at all. I managed to plug in all kinds of substitutions possible and the results were SWEET....and SMOOTH ;)
Pots de Creme refers to both the custard dessert as well as the small lidded pots that this dessert is served in. Pots de Creme or Pots-au-creme translates from French to English as 'pot of cream'. It is basically a kind of custard made with egg yolks and then baked in a bain marie/water bath. You may click on the link above for it's origin and some fancy shamancy pots collection ;)
Almond paste is what I thought of for the custard, having had a gorgeous experience with it sometime back. How about maple syrup take the place of sugar, cried out the forever sugar replacer in me. Now in my books, addition of cardamom/elaichi to any sweets makes it absolutely thrilling and takes it over the top, so that had to go in too :)
Almond, Maple and Cardamom Pots de Creme
2 cups milk
3/4 cup almonds soaked 3hrs, up to overnight
1/2 tsp ground cardamom/elaichi (use as per your taste)
4 tbsp maple syrup (use as per your liking, I do not like cloyingly sweet creations)
1. Bring milk to a boil and simmer for half an hour.
2. In the meanwhile blend soaked almonds(de-skin) to a fine paste, use milk to facilitate the blender.
3. Add the almond paste to the milk & cook a few minutes.
4. Add maple syrup and ground cardamom & switch off the gas in 5 minutes.
5. Pour into individual ramekins, cover with a foil and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes till set. Covering the ramekins avoids a skin forming atop the milk.
6. Enjoy a healthy and sugar free dessert, we loved it :)
If your milk mixture does not thicken well, you can add some thickener like arrowroot powder etc to help thicken it faster.
Maple syrup sweetens the dessert very well and has additional advantage of nutrients. As for the GI, you may check it's level if you have any problems in that field.
Almonds impart a beautiful nutty taste, you almost don't want to mask their taste with too much sweetness.Purists may not take swiftly to my using the name for this dessert, but since when has that stopped me
So, how do you use your maple syrup? do lemme' know in the comments section!