Tap. Tap. Tap-tap. Crack!
Creme brûlée isn’t just a rich, delicious treat, it’s fun to make and to eat. There’s also something wickedly decadent about sprinkling sugar on an already sweet dessert and melting it to a shining, deep-golden glass, not to mention the fact that if you have a kitchen torch you get to play with fire. No torch? Slip these rich custards under your oven’s broiler for the finishing touch.
I’m new to brûlée having just recently purchased a tiny, red, terrifyingly hot food torch. I had been thinking of putting a brûlée recipe on the blog for awhile, but I didn’t want to do plain vanilla or something so simple. After looking at a lot of recipes on line I mulled the idea for awhile and came to the idea of infusing the custard with tea. Since its getting cooler, my palate is leaning towards warm spices so it was not a far stretch to settle upon chai tea for my brûlée flavour.
It was impossible to resist cooking these pale, spiced custards in anything but vintage tea cups. It made me wish I was having a full tea party, complete with crust-less sandwiches and lacy gloves.
Not feeling the love of chai? Infuse the cream with citrus rinds, or another tea like Earl Grey or jasmine. The sky is the limit!
Chai Tea Crème Brûlée
set 6 small baking dishes (or tea cups) in an oven proof dish that is at least half as deep as the cups themselves. Preheat the oven too 325°.
2 C whipping cream
4 chai tea bags (or 2-3 tsp loose chai tea)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
scant pinch of cloves
white sugar for the brûlée-ing
Heat the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan until almost boiling. Add the tea and steep for 10-15 minutes, allowing the cream to partially cool.
Beat together the egg yolks and whole egg until broken down and no longer stringy. Add the sugar and continue to mix until dissolved. Slowly add the warm cream, whisking constantly. Stir in the spices. Divide the custard between the cups. Pour boiling water around the cups and place in a 325° oven for 30 minutes. They are ready when mostly set but still jiggly. Chill the custards for 2-4 hours until fully set.
Immediately before serving sprinkle the surface of each custard with white sugar and melt and caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch (or under your oven’s broiler). Serve immediately.