This masala chai crème brûlée takes your favorite Indian tea and turns it sideways, making it a creamy spice-infused dessert with a crackling, shattering caramelized sugar topping. Cooks, start your blow torches!
Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what you’ll find in these Masala chai crème brûlée that seem sophisticated but are actually a simple infusion of warming spices and a velvety custard. The rich creaminess juxtaposed against the crackle of the caramelized sugar gilding the surface pretty much guarantees you’ll be coming up with excuses to make this make-ahead dessert again. Soon.–Jenny Howard
Special Equipment: Ramekins; kitchen blow-torch (optional)
Masala Chai Crème Brûlée
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 4 H
- Serves 4 to 6
- 3 cloves
- 5 cardamom pods, seeds removed
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 Indian masala chai tea bags or 2 teaspoons loose chai tea
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons superfine sugar, or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
- 2. In a spice or coffee grinder or using a mortar and pestle, combine the cloves, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon and grind to a fine powder.
- 3. In a large pot set over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, tea bags, ginger, and spices and stir to mix well. Bring almost to a boil and then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer or cheesecloth into a large measuring cup.
- 4. In a large bowl, whisk 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour the strained cream into the egg mixture.
- 5. Place 4 to 6 ramekins in a shallow roasting pan. Divide the custard mixture evenly among the ramekins. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custard is just set with a slight wobble in the center of each, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the dish.
- 6. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate the custards at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- 7. When ready to serve, evenly sprinkle the remaining 5 tablespoons sugar over the custards so it covers the surface. Carefully caramelize with a kitchen blowtorch or, if using ovenproof dishes, adjust the oven rack 4 inches (10 cm) beneath the broiler and preheat the broiler. Blowtorch or broil until the sugar is evenly browned and melted into glass. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.