On a tea-buying trip to western China, I jumped at the chance to stop in Cambodia and explore the awe-inspiring ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat. At the historic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, I swooned over a delicate custard redolent of tropical fruit flavors and aromas. Here is my version. Unlike traditional custards, this one has a minimum of cream for a lighter, fresher style. It is pleasingly moss-green in color, and, because it is not baked, it is perfect for presenting in an assortment of your most fanciful small and stylish bowls.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
2/3 cup apricot nectar
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water to 3/4 inch below the bottom of the top pan. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Place the butter in the top pan of the double boiler.
Once it has melted, remove the top pan and place it on a heatproof pad on the countertop.
- Mix the sugar and the matcha powder in a small bowl until well blended. Add the sugar mixture to the melted butter and blend well. Set aside.
- Put the apricot nectar into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it to soften. Set aside.
- Add the cream, orange juice, and beaten eggs to the butter mixture. Blend to incorporate well.
Place the pan back over the hot water in the bottom of the double boiler. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful to not let the mixture boil, or it will curdle.
- Remove the custard from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the apricot mixture to the custard and stir well, until the gelatin is dissolved and well incorporated.
Allow the custard to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour the custard into 6 small ramekins or bowls, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until set. Serve chilled.
Reference: Mary Lou Heiss (2006). Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers, and Sweet and Savory Treats. Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press.