Indian Carrot Custard with Chai Chantilly Cream and Pistachio-Ginger Crumble

Hi folks! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Since most of my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, and the bit that does is not local, every year I get to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with a different group of friends and their family. They’re all so wonderful to invite me into their celebrations, and I feel incredibly lucky to have so many generous and hospitable friends! 

This year, Christmas was spent with my friend Kristie and her family. Kristie’s kitchen has become my test kitchen over the past few months. It’s a trade-off— I take over her bright, roomy kitchen for a day and in return she gets to be my guinea pig and try all the different versions of the dishes I create. 

This recipe is one of the three I submitted for the scholarship contest. I absolutely love Indian food, and no matter where I’m eating it, if carrot pudding is on the menu I must have some. It’s that wonderful carrot pudding that inspired this dessert, a smooth, creamy custard packed with sweet carrot and cardamom, then topped off with the spicy flavours of chai and the crunch of pistachios.

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Custard
Ingredients:                                                               
4 C shredded carrots                                                                       
1 C full fat coconut milk                                                                
1 ¼ C + 2 T Half & Half                                                                    
¼ C light brown sugar                                                                    
½ tsp ground cardamom                                                              
2 eggs    
¼ C salted butter 

Equipment:
Medium sauce pot
Wooden spoon
Measuring cups and spoons
Four 4 oz. ramekins
Tea kettle or 2nd pot for boiling water
One large roasting pan or baking pan
Can opener
Hand grater

Instructions:
Heat the carrots, half & half, and coconut milk in a pot until just boiling. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until most of the liquid is absorbed, approximately 1 hour. Remove from the heat.

Mix the brown sugar, cardamom, and butter into the carrot mixture. Stir until the butter has melted and the brown sugar is dissolved.  Pour into the blender. Add the two eggs, one at a time, while the blender is running. Continue to puree until the mixture is smooth and creamy. The mixture should be thick, but you can add the additional 2 tablespoons of half and half if needed to make it pourable.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat a full kettle or pot of water to boiling. Place the ramekins into a large baking pan and fill each slightly more than half way with the custard. Place the baking pan onto the middle oven rack, and pour the boiling water into the pan, around the ramekins.  The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Chai Spiced Chantilly Cream
Ingredients:
                                                                           
1 C heavy cream                                                                    
1 T confectioner’s sugar                                                        
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Equipment:
Large metal mixing bowl, chilled
Large whisk or Stand mixer with whisk attachment

Instructions:
If mixing the cream by hand, pour the cream into the chilled mixing bowl and begin to whisk air into it, tilting the bowl slightly and using keeping the motion in your wrist. As you do so, you’ll begin to notice the whisk leaving trails in the cream. At this point you can begin adding the sugar and spices, one at a time, until well incorporated. Continue whisking until soft peaks form.  Cover and refrigerate.

Pistachio-Ginger Crumble Garnish
Ingredients:                                                                           
¼ C pistachios, shelled and chopped  
1 T crystallized ginger, chopped         

Equipment:
Large knife and cutting board
Small bowl

Combine the chopped pistachios and crystallized ginger in a small bowl, to be used as garnish.

Construction:
Top each serving of custard with 1-2 tablespoons of Chantilly cream, then sprinkle the pistachio-ginger mixture on top.

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