Easy to create, this crème brûlée features a rich custard flavored with vanilla and chai tea and is sealed with a crunchy caramelized top.
We give careful thought before adding any new item to our kitchen. Does the tool merit the space it will take up in Bandon’s galley or in the kitchen of our Arctic home? Will it be durable? Is it practical?
For the past few years, both of us have been eyeing a butane torch – the perfect niche tool for toasting a couple of homemade marshmallows, singeing meringue pie tips, and of course, for creating the perfect crème brûlée.
For most people, the addition of an item such as a kitchen torch means driving to a local store and picking one out along with the necessary fuel. For us, getting a canister of butane out to bush Alaska means purchasing a haz-mat certificate and having the item sent by cargo flight out here because the post office doesn’t ship hazardous materials via airplane.
Last night, the torch came out of the box, was fueled up, and put into service to finish a dessert that we and our guests couldn’t get enough of – chai crème brûlée. For this recipe, we began with a traditional crème brûlée custard recipe and infused it with the mildly spicy, sweet flavors of loose leaf chai tea and vanilla paste. The resulting dessert was more complex and flavorful than typical crème brûlées. Using our new torch so that our guests and we could caramelize the tops of the custard just before serving, this turned out to be the best crème brûlée we and our guests had ever had.
Chai Creme Brulee for Two
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- tiny pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tbsp loose chai tea
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp granulated sugar for topping
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the slightly lower than center position.
- Whisk milk, heavy whipping cream, sugar, salt, vanilla paste and chai tea in a medium pot over medium heat. Whisk until mixture steams and almost boils. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Strain cream mixture to remove tea leaves.
- Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in cream mixture to eggs one tablespoon at a time until the egg mixture is warmed. Once mixture is warmed, increase addition of cream mixture to 1/4 cup at a time. This will prevent eggs from cooking and scrambling.
- Pour mixture into two 4-ounce ramekins.
- Set ramekins in a baking dish. Pour enough hot water to reach halfway up the ramekins.
- Bake uncovered in preheated oven until desserts are softly set, about 45 minutes. The centers will jiggle.
- Remove baking dish with ramekins from oven and let desserts come to room temperature while in water bath on counter.
- Chill ramekins in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Right before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon granulated sugar evenly on each dessert.
- Use a kitchen torch to slightly brown and caramelize the granulated sugar. Let cool for ten minutes and serve.