A Love Affair…with Cardamom

20130618-133933.jpgYears ago, working in Colorado in an area with a very heavy Middle Eastern population, I was introduced to the most wonderful spice – cardamom. It’s the magic that made the Persian tea so wonderful and also coincidentally a major component of Chai. Ever since then, I’ve loved and lusted after cardamom. It’s a pretty expensive spice, so I have not often had the chance to get it.

Then in the last year or so, bakers everywhere started advertising cardamom desserts. Get your cardamom raspberry cupcakes here! The problem however, is that I could never really taste the cardamom in any of these baked goods, which left me feeling let down. However, last week, when I stumbled across this recipe for Blackberry Cardamom Buckwheat Hand Pies, I knew I’d definitely give them a try, despite having never made pie crust or a fruit pie before. This is especially because I also have a serious thing for both berries, and buckwheat (both topics for future gushing posts). Seriously, when I mentioned I’d seen this recipe to Eddie, even he knew it was meant to be. Additionally, the pies called for cardamom in the crust AND the filling, so I was hopeful I’d even have a fairly strong cardamom flavor (just the way I like it!). Boy did they!

First off, I think it’s important to tip you off to my source for cardamom since some places it can be so expensive. Skip your grocery store where you’ll be able to get ground cardamom for something ridiculous like 15.99 for a little bottle and then you’ll never be able to use the whole thing anyway. Go to CostPlus World Market and buy the whole pods for $3.99 for a bottle. Then use a coffee grinder when you need ground cardamom.

For the full recipe, click here. I love the part where it calls for frozen butter so you can grate it into little pieces. I am not familiar with other pie crust recipes but this was really easy to work with and I was pleasantly surprised. Baking is something I’m sort of new to. Halfway through the recipe, I realized it was going to make way more than anticipated. I ended up making twice the filling because the crust was going so far and then I made all the pies and froze them. I made about half of them as described in the recipe (but using an upside-down pint glass because we definitely don’t have a 3″ biscuit cutter) and then made the other half larger, sized for two people and rectangular (think pop-tart – but SO much better).

They were TOTALLY delicious. And actually 2/3 of them remain in the freezer waiting for us to have a craving for pie. Then we’ll just pre-heat the oven to 400 – pop them in, and 15 minutes later enjoy wonderful, lovely pie. And the cardamom flavor totally shows through.

Pro-tip – if you start baking these, go out and get ice cream ahead of time. I made the amateur mistake of beginning to bake them and then deciding we’d TOTALLY need ice cream for them when they were already in the oven. So then Eddie had to go out on an emergency run even though I’d been to the store three times that day. You WILL want ice cream.



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