On this week’s episode of Chefs at Home, Samantha Seneviratne prepares two desserts using chocolate cardamom pudding.

By Bridget Hallinan
November 09, 2020
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For an audio described version of this video, click here.

After whipping up her caramelized apple bread with candied ginger and almond on a recent episode of F&W Cooks, cookbook author and food stylist Samantha Seneviratne is back on this week’s installment of Chefs at Home—and this time, it’s all about chocolate and cardamom. Seneviratne not only demonstrates how to make “the easiest, most delicious chocolate cardamom pudding,” but also how you can turn it into a tart, with homemade whipped cream and pistachio-sesame brittle to top it all off. As she cooks, Seneviratne also names some of her top childhood desserts, including a warm chocolate chip cookie, boxed brownies, chocolate éclairs, and more.

Read on for her step-by-step method and follow along with the video above.

Start with the Pudding

First, steep milk with green cardamom pods—smashed with a mortar and pestle—on the stove to infuse it with flavor. As it steeps for an hour over low heat, Seneviratne prepares the remaining ingredients for the custard. Mix egg yolks in a bowl with cornstarch and sugar, whisking it all together, and prepare pieces of bittersweet and milk chocolate in another bowl, with a sieve on top. 

Once the milk-and-cardamom mixture is done steeping, add heavy cream and then whisk in the egg-yolk mixture, taking care not to leave any behind. Bring everything to a gentle simmer, so you thicken the mixture and cook out the cornstarch—make sure it doesn’t get too hot, or else you’ll risk scrambling the egg yolks. Whisk out any lumps that occur, and once the custard is ready, take it off the heat and pour it through the sieve right onto the chocolate. Stir and whisk it in so the chocolate melts and incorporates, and voilà, you’ve got pudding! A dash of vanilla extract rounds it all out. 

Seneviratne recommends covering the pudding with plastic wrap and chilling it in the refrigerator for an hour or two. To serve, you can enjoy it plain, but she also suggests whipped cream, crème fraîche, or sour cream for toppings.

Make (and Bake) the Tart Shell

Seneviratne likes to make pastry dough in a food processor, but you can also do it by hand. Grab all-purpose flour, sugar, and a little salt, mixing it together in the processor. Then, add in one stick of cold butter, cut into pieces—be sure to leave some chunks of butter in the dough, as they’ll help create a flaky texture, she notes. Ice water (to keep the butter cold) goes in as well. She starts with three tablespoons and then adds a fourth after testing the consistency of the dough. After the dough is done, turn it onto plastic wrap and use the wrap to shape the dough into a disc. Seneviratne recommends chilling the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but she also says you can make the pastry up to three days ahead, or freeze it for up to one month.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out, rotating it occasionally, and be sure the dough stays cold. (You can refrigerate it briefly again if needed.) She folds it in half and places it in the tart pan, unfurling it and using a rolling pin to trim off the edges. The tart shell chills for 10 minutes in the freezer and then goes into the oven for a blind bake, lined with parchment paper and filled with pie weights to ensure it stays flat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and then, after removing the pie weights, bake completely for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. 

You’ll know the crust is done if you can easily lift it out of the pan, Seneviratne says. Pour the custard into the finished shell, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Place the tart in the fridge to chill before topping.

Prepare the Brittle

After the tart goes in the fridge, Seneviratne makes the brittle, noting that pistachio and cardamom is a “really common, very classic pairing.” (You can use peanuts if you don’t have pistachios.) You start by making a caramel using water and sugar—the key, she says, is to “just let it do its thing.” Take care not to stir it too early, since it could seize up. Make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, either.

Add in the pistachios, sesame seeds, and salt, and stir them all in so they’re coated. Then, pour the caramel mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or greased sheet of parchment paper). Spread it out and allow it to harden and cool completely.

Whip the Cream

Lastly, Seneviratne prepares a whipped-cream topping. You’ll need heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and cardamom seeds to grind up—Seneviratne believes freshly ground cardamom is “so much more delicious.” It all comes together in a stand mixer.

Assemble the Tart and Enjoy

Take the chilled tart and dollop the fresh whipped cream on top, leaving a border around the edges so a bit of the chocolate peeks through. Then, take the cooled, hardened brittle and cut it up into small pieces, placing them on top of the whipped cream. With both the pudding and tart done, Seneviratne gives them a try. She says the pudding is “super smooth” and “very luscious,” while the tart is “like chocolate cream pie, but even more interesting.” Grab the tart recipe below so you can give it a try yourself.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Cardamom Cream Tart with Pistachio-Sesame Brittle

Come back on Monday, November 16, for our next episode of Chefs at Home featuring chef Rachel Yang.