200 grams moist apricots, roughly chopped
250 mls sherry or dessert wine 50 grams caster sugar
6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed or 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 vanilla bean
500 mls cream
6 egg yolks
100 grams caster sugar
8 x 1⁄2 cup capacity ramekins
Apricot Confit: Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat.
Stir to dissolve the sugar then place a piece of baking paper and a small heat-proof plate over the apricots. Reduce the heat to low and poach gently for 1 hour until very tender.
Remove the cardamom pods and scrape out any remaining seeds. Add these seeds to the apricots and discard the pods. Purée to a chunky paste in a food processor. Cool. This confit can be made several days ahead.
Brulée: Preheat the oven to 150oC – no fan. Split the vanilla bean in half with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Put the bean, seeds and cream in a saucepan and heat to just before boiling point. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale then whisk in the cream. Strain through a sieve, discarding the vanilla pod.
To cook: Divide the confit between the ramekins and place them in a roasting pan lined with a cloth napkin. Ladle over the brulée, filling almost to the brim.
Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.
Cover loosely with foil and pierce holes to prevent condensation forming.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dishes from the pan and cool before covering and refrigerating for several hours or overnight.
To serve: Sprinkle the tops with a layer of caster sugar and using a kitchen blowtorch or red-hot brulée iron, carefully caramelize the tops.
Alternatively, place under a very hot, preheated grill. Take care not to leave them under too long or the brulée will melt.
Refrigerate again for 15 minutes or until ready to serve. Makes 8