Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Bake: 325° 1 hr
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1/3cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
- 4 cups half-and-half
- 8 egg yolks
- 1/2teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the almonds and 3 tbsp. sugar; stir constantly until the nuts are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a large spoon or spatula, spread out the candied nuts on a baking sheet. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring the half-and-half to a boil, then remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the cardamom and salt until thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in the vanilla.
- Divide the mixture among eight 6-oz. ramekins or custard cups. Place the ramekins in a large baking pan. Transfer the pan to the oven. Pour in enough very hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake the custards, turning the pan halfway through baking, until the centers are just set, 55 to 60 minutes. (Dont worry if the centers are a little jiggly; the custards will thicken as they cool.) Let the custards cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water and let cool on a rack until just warm to the touch.
- Refrigerate the custards until chilled completely, about 1 hour. Just before serving, sprinkle them with the candied almonds.
- A touch of cardamom gives these little treats a subtle floral flavor. Candied nuts add an appealing crunch.