Chai crème brûlée
- September 2023
- Serves 8
- Hands-on time 35 min, plus infusing and cooling. Oven time 40-45 min
Who doesn’t like a crème brûlée?! Combine the classic crunchy-topped custard with the comforting spiced flavours of chai and you’re on to a winner. Play around with the spices to suit your tastes. Bonus: you can easily double (or treble) the quantities if serving a particularly large crowd.
Dishoom’s masala chai is just the thing on a cold night.
- 56g (33g saturated)
- 15g (15g sugars)
- 20g fresh ginger, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cardamom pods, bashed
- 4 cloves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 800ml double cream
- 3 black tea bags or 3 tbsp tea leaves (assam or darjeeling work well)
- 8 medium free-range egg yolks
- 110g golden caster sugar
- 8 x 150ml ramekins
- Kitchen blowtorch (optional)
- Put the ginger and spices in a saucepan and put over a medium heat for a minute or so to toast until fragrant. Add the cream and tea, then warm, stirring regularly, until steaming. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to infuse for at least 1 hour (for more flavour do this the night before and infuse in the fridge overnight).
- Heat the oven to 110°C fan/gas ¾. Set the pan of infused cream over a medium heat to warm through, stirring every now and then to stop it catching on the bottom. In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to beat the egg yolks and 40g of the sugar together until combined and a little paler. Once the cream is steaming hot and quivering (but not quite boiling), gradually pour the cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until all combined (you can remove the tea bags here if they get in the way). Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug to remove all the solids.
- Put the ramekins in a roasting tin or dish with some space between them and divide the custard mixture among them. Pour cold water into the roasting tin until it comes two thirds of the way up the side of the ramekins to make a bain marie. Gently put the tin on the bottom shelf of the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes until the custard has set with a slight wobble when nudged. Remove the ramekins from the tin of water, set aside to cool, then chill for at least 3 hours.
- A few hours before you’re ready to serve, sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each custard in an even layer (see tip below). Use a cook’s blowtorch to caramelise the sugar until even and dark (it will keep cooking for a few seconds after you take the torch away so be careful not to burn them). Repeat the sprinkling and blowtorching a few times to get a really good thick layer of caramelised sugar. You can also caramelise the topping under the grill if you don’t have a blowtorch – just make sure it’s hot before you put the custards underneath it and keep an eye on them as they cook. Leave the crème brûlées to cool for an hour or so until firm, then serve.
Lightly spray the sugar sprinkled on the top of the custard with a little water from a spritzer bottle before you blowtorch it for a more even caramelisation.
Scale it up You can easily double (or treble) the quantities if serving a particularly large crowd.
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