A decadent cream that's light in texture and a great filling.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Put 1/4 cup of the sugar and the water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally as the sugar starts to melt, until the sugar is a deep amber, has a very fragrant caramel smell, and you see just the tiniest wisps of smoke, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in 1 cup of the cream; it will steam and sputter, so stand back a bit. Return the pan to the heat and stir to dissolve the caramel. Stir in the espresso powder and cardamom until combined and dissolved. Keep the caramel cream warm over very low heat; do not let it boil.
- In a medium stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, and the salt until thoroughly blended. Pour in a bit of the hot caramel cream and whisk vigorously to blend into a paste. Add a little more caramel cream, whisk to blend, and then whisk the egg mixture back into the pan of caramel cream. Return the pan to medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. The pastry cream will thicken as it cooks; if it starts getting a little lumpy, just pull it from the heat and whisk away the lumps. Cook at a gentle boil for about 2 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pastry cream cool completely, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.
- In a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream on medium-high speed until it forms firm peaks. Whisk the cooled pastry cream to loosen it slightly, then carefully fold about one-fourth of the whipped cream into the pastry cream to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream just until blended. Chill for about 15 minutes, if you have the time.
Reprinted with permission from Martha Holmberg’s Modern Sauces (Chronicle Books LLC, 2012).