Monday, September 3, 2012

Spiced Chai Creme Brulee

I know time's been lagging between our meetings and my posts are not as recurring as I'd like them to be. If you ask me, I can't really pinpoint it on A One Thing. It could be a hot spell, delirium- induced procrastination, of sorts, on reaching the near end to multiple 110+ degree days of muggy, near heat wave existence. Maybe just blame it on a brand new school year accompanied by numerous extracurriculars, oft- maddening driving routes and schedules. Add to that, a most fascinating role as entrant mom to a brand new middleschooler. Though, possibly the sluggish, beyond- me existence could be attributed to just plain lazy-me attitude; lazy to type, lazy to photograph and lazy to write all this out. ( The cooking part is exempt from lazy-me status, since that's what I do most often, everyday.)

Before I admit to any (or all) of the three, one confession I can for sure make- during these lags and small breaks, I do miss you all. In true sincerity, yes I do. So, please do me the pardon and perchance, allow me to redeem myself?  Because I have today something that could  will completely win you over.

Curious? Does creme brulee need an introduction? Really, the super-luscious, indulgent pudding that sounds as good as it tastes? Well, maybe so and below I'll give you a brief one.

Translated from the French, this popular dessert means "burnt cream," referring to its' caramelized finish. The origins of creme brulee are unknown. History has it that a certain well known University house presented this tasty dish at their well known tables in the late 19th century. Adding further  popularity to the dessert was a dramatic heat-brandishing of the college arms over the custard. Whatever the cradle source maybe, it was indeed genius embodied in a creamy pudding form.

So on to today's sensation: The genius creation gets saturated with caffeine packed fabulousness,  sending ordinary creme brulee to a novel, very dazzling chai destiny. 

Unique in taste, it is chai steeped cream, laced with aromatic cardamom, cloves and perfused with a touch of ginger. Well rounded, the velvety smooth body is similar to a perfectly blended cup of masala chaithe ultimate tea pudding. This, my sweets, is dessert refinement, all in a 3 ounce porcelain dish. Future bliss is achieved in the scant sugar sprinklings above these individually served, over- the -top lovelies. 

With the aid of a kitchen blowtorch, which I might add is the best invention known to man after electricity, the plain white sugar transforms into horizontal plates of hardened caramel glass - dangerously good stuff in that after trying the burnt version of sugar  you may never have a pining for the white stuff ever again. With the nearest proximity between torch and sugar, you burn away, swiftly throughout the upper sanded surface, searing the custards to utter crisped perfection. 

A wonderful, easy way to have a swanky, most magnificent dessert, from start to finish. And with a no bake custard to boot, what more could you ask for? 

A cup of tea to go with? Included in the recipe, as well. Thank you very much. 

(Inspired and loosely adapted from Hari Nayak's "My Indian Kitchen")
  • 2 ¼ c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp loose black tea leaves (Assam or Darjeeling teas work well) or 2 tea bags
  • pinch of salt
  • 2  whole green cardamom
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ c sugar, divided 
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • Place the cream, tea, cardamom, cloves, ginger powder and salt into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 
  • Once boiled, bring heat to medium and allow to simmer for an additional 2-4 minutes until liquid becomes slightly reduced. Remove from the heat, cover and keep aside. Strain and discard leaves, and spices.
  • Over a double boiler, or a deep pan set over simmering water on heat whisk egg yolks, together with ¼ cup sugar.
  • Whisk steadily until mixture turns light in color and thickens (175 °F on an instant-read kitchen thermometer). 
  • Add the chai cream a little at a time into the egg mixture, gradually stirring all the while.
  • Once cream and egg mixture are incorporated, cook over medium-low heat, stirring at intervals, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden ladle. 
  • Take off heat and stir in vanilla. (At this point, if you find it lumpy, strain once more)
  • Pour the liquid into 6 ramekins or custard pan large enough to hold full mixture.
  • Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the creme brulee molds from the refrigerator.
  • Divide the remaining ¼ cup sugar equally among the 6 dishes and tap to spread evenly (if not made into individual servings, pour evenly over the top of one large brulee). Using a torch, melt the sugar to form a nicely browned, crispy top. 
  • If browning has warmed custard below, refrigerate for 10-15 minutes before serving. Don't leave to chill for an extended time as the top might go soggy.

The custard flavor betters, the more it sits- upto a few days, but prepare the sugar crust the day of serving.

Sidenote ~ Unless you're up for an all night TV view-a-thon (or in other cases, nocturnal updating of a foodblog) use caution when serving this after dinner. Because a small 3 ounce dish of chai creme brulee contains as much caffeine as does a cup of chai itself. So enjoy before sun sets -yes, you can trust me on this one. 

No worries if your kitchen lacks a blow torch. An ever-watchful eye and a good kitchen broiler can also bring about a browned top. Might not be as fun.
On breaking this beauty you will be pleasantly surprised at the burnt shell cracking away like glass on contact with your spoon's edge.

 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.

Proverbs 24:5 (ESV)
"The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are." ~C.S. Lewis


  1. this creme brulee looks and sounds wonderful. Cheers

    PS A big thank you for following Carole's Chatter

  2. Tisa, these creme brulee look FANFREAKINGTASTIC!

    1. Wow, Angie, thank you for those freakintastic words!

  3. Sensation is right this looks like an incredible Creme brulee my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Hi,

    We've recently launched the site where users can search through hundreds of thousands of recipes from American food sites and blogs.

    We noticed that you have a lot of delicious recipes on your blog and we would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here:

    If you want to add your food blog to the list and have your recipes indexed on, all you have to do is follow these instructions:

    Our concept is already live in Sweden, France, the UK and Spain, and we deliver thousands of visitors to food blogs daily. Some of the top food blogs receive 20,000+ visitors from us on a weekly basis.

    Hopefully your food blog will be up there in the top!

    Kind regards,

  5.'ve some awesome stuff here! Love the photos, very neat and straight.

    Nashi is my fren; saw your comment in her blog. Isn't she droooool?? :p

    I really like your space...those verses at the bottom. Want to check out the bun and the pate a choux too. Will drop by later.

    I blog at a very relaxed pace...feel free to drop by any time.

    1. Thank you Thoma! You made my day with your lively and very encouraging comments! Plateful is 'drool', a friend told me about it.
      I couldn't find your blog on your G page, though I found out you studied at a school very near to my hubby's. Give me the link- def want to go see it.
      God bless you.

  6. wow...looks so gorgeous & YUM!!! Really love your recipes :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!