Spiced crème brûlée with coffee syrup


2 cinnamon sticks
10 Star anise
20g liquorice root, sliced
1/2 tsp Cloves
2 vanilla pods, split and seeds scraped out
1 cm root ginger, sliced
375ml double cream
125ml full fat Milk
75g palm Sugar, finely grated
5 egg yolks

For the coffee syrup
100g coffee granules
200ml water
125g Sugar
lemon juice, to taste


1. Put all the spices, including the vanilla seeds and pods and root ginger in a pan with the cream and milk. Heat until warm, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together and whisk the cooled cream into it. Leave this custard mixture for a day in the fridge, mix again and pass through a sieve to remove the spices.

3. Take 4 ramekins, each 6cm in diameter and 4cm deep, and preheat the oven to its lowest temperature (100C maximum/ less than gas 1/4). Put the ramekins in a deep roasting tin, and divide the custard mixture between them. Pour enough boiling water around the ramekins to come three quarters of the way up the sides. Put in the oven - they will take up to an hour to cook and should be firm but slightly wobbly in the middle.

4. For the coffee syrup: bring the coffee granules, water and sugar to the boil in a pan. Reduce by at least two thirds until it becomes a thick syrup. Pass through a sieve and add enough lemon juice to take the edge off the sweetness.

5. Drizzle a little of the syrup on top of each custard and serve.