Mandarin crème brûlée with cardamom langues de chat

Mandarin crème brûlée with cardamom langues de chat

Chris Middleton

Crème brûlée is so rich and decadent. I love the flavour of mandarin, a perfect match for cardamom. This method is a ‘no-bake’ one. You essentially cook out the custard until it splits, then blend to bring it back together. Don’t be scared — it’s more foolproof than baking!

Langues de chat


Quantity Ingredient
100g butter, diced
80g icing sugar
1 orange, zested
3 egg whites
100g plain flour, sifted
8 cardamom pods, toasted and ground, seeds

Crème brûlée

Quantity Ingredient
900ml pouring cream
175g caster sugar, plus extra, for sprinkling
8 mandarins, zested
15 egg yolks
30ml mandarine napoleon, or other mandarin-flavoured liqueur
24 mandarin segments


  1. For the langues de chat

    Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter, icing sugar and orange zest in a food processor. Add the egg whites one at a time, until thoroughly combined, then scrape the mixture into a bowl. Sift the flour and cardamom over and stir until just combined.
  3. Put the dough in a disposable piping (icing) bag. Pipe 16 thin lines onto the baking paper, into 8 cm lengths. Bake for 5–10 minutes, until browned evenly on the outside and bottom. Cool on the baking tray and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  4. For the crème brûlée

    Combine the cream, sugar and mandarin zest in a saucepan and slowly infuse over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and liqueur. Slowly strain the warm cream into the egg yolks, constantly whisking to combine. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and heat over a large saucepan of just-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until curdled and split — this will take 30–45 minutes.
  6. Pour the hot mixture into a blender in small amounts and blitz well, scraping down the side, until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
  7. Have ready eight 200 ml brûlée moulds and arrange three mandarin segments in each. Pour in the custard mixture. Firmly tap the moulds on the bench to release the air bubbles, then smooth the surface. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight, to set and get a dry crust on top.
  8. To serve

    Evenly sprinkle some caster sugar over the top of each set custard, until just covered. Scrape around the sides of the moulds with your thumb to clean away any excess sugar. Use a kitchen blow torch to gently go back and forth across the sugar, until it is all melted and slightly darker than golden brown, but not burnt.
  9. Serve immediately, with two biscuits per person to dip into the custard.
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