Baked custards are a classic recipe that have been made since Ancient Roman times (if you don’t believe me, see this recipe for an Ancient Roman Baked Custard [Tyropatinam]).
Victorians loved them in many guises (see Eliza Acton’s recipe for The Printer’s Pudding) and classic modern versions include Crème Caramela (this particular version is from the Sudan).
Given all this historical competition, I decided to add elements from India and North Africa in my version of a baked custard. As a result, in this recipe the custards are baked individually and they are flavoured with cardamom and oranges and are served chilled and topped with orange segments.
Baked Cardamom and Orange Custards
200ml (4/5 cup) milk
4 cardamom pods
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp honey
Pour the milk into a pan, extract the seeds from the cardamom pods and add to the milk. Gently warm the mixture until hand hot then take off the heat and whisk in the eggs and honey.
Lightly grease four 150ml (3/5 cup) ramekins with butter or oil. Pour in the custard mixture (strain this through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the cardamom seeds).
Finely grate the zest of 1 orange and stir a little into each ramekin.
Sit the ramekins in a deep roasting tin. Fill this with enough hot water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC (325ºF, Gas Mark 6) and bake for about 40 minutes or until the custard are just set (they should still wobble slightly when shaken).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely then transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
When ready to serve, use a serrated knife to remove the skin and pith from the oranges. Using a knife separate the segments from the oranges (collect any juice).
To serve, top the chilled custards with the orange and any collected orange juice.