Chai Latte Creme Brulee
My favorite dessert is creme brulee. I consider myself a bit of a creme brulee connoisseur and if I see one on a menu or if one is offered to me, I have to try it. My husband discovered early in our relationship that my cravings can add up fast, so he began to encourage home made creme brulee at every opportunity. We've tried many recipes together and come to realize how flexible we can be with them. With autumn in the air and my coffee shop in my heart, I present my Monkey Monkey Chai Latte Creme Brulee recipe.
At Monkey Monkey Coffee and Tea, we put our chai together from scratch. We make a concentrate of English Breakfast loose-leaf tea steeped with cinnamon sticks, pepper, nutmeg, orange zest, cardamom, anise, and cloves and sweeten that with honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Our house chai gives this recipe a delightful and decadent flavor profile.
You can opt to make your own chai latte for this recipe, but I suggest stopping by Monkey Monkey on your way to the grocery store. I discourage substituting home made for a boxed chai, as boxed chai concentrates normally have a syrupy texture and lack a complex flavor profile.
12 oz Breve Chai Latte from Monkey Monkey Coffee and Tea (breve means made with half & half). Ask for it not to be steamed.
8 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
6 Egg Yolks
1/4 C Sugar
Turbinado (raw sugar), for topping
Optional: 1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise
Preheat oven to 300 F. Put a tea kettle on or heat up about 1 quart of water in a pot to boil.
Heat the chai latte and heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan on medium heat just until it begins to steam, about 5 minutes. If you choose to add the vanilla bean, add it to the sauce pan when you add the chai and cream. Use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with the salt and sugar until thick and pale yellow.
Once the cream and chai are warmed, fish out the vanilla bean.Gradually add the chai, cream mix to the egg mix, stirring well.
Pour this mix into an ovenproof dish or about six 4 ounce custard cups. I have four 8 ounce ramekins that I make mine in at home. Put the dish and/or custard cups in a large baking dish and pour the hot water into the dish so that it comes up to about an inch on the outside of your creme brulee.
Baking times can vary depending on your oven, what type of dishes you use, and how thick you pour your mixture in. I would start with 45 minutes in the oven for a smaller depth of creme in a dish and increase that to an hour and a half if there is a thick amount of creme in the dish. You want the custard to set well on the outside and have the slightest jiggle in the middle.
Baking the creme brulee correctly is the most crucial part of the recipe, and you really have to go with what you feel to get it right.
After baking, allow the custard to cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but up to 2 days, before serving.
Sprinkle the top with turbinado, if you happen to have a propane torch, you can heat the sugar with the flame until it bubble and browns. No worries if you don't have a torch, you can put your serving dishes in your oven broiler. Watch carefully and turn as needed to get an even color and crunch on your sugar.
Notes from Tori:
If you choose to make your own chai tea, you need about 6 ounces of tea concentrate for this recipe and about 14 ounces of half and half or heavy cream or a combination.
If you choose to add a vanilla bean to your recipe, don't just throw it away when you are done. Vanilla beans are a true delicacy; they hold so much flavor and are useful for so many dishes! My husband kept a vanilla bean from one experiment and added it to a container of turbinado. Now, all of our turbinado for creme brulee has a wonderful vanilla aroma and flavor. I've saved a vanilla bean from another experiment and I keep it in my fridge in a mason jar, soaked in milk. I use my vanilla milk in coffee at home or in a random dessert and I constantly add more to it.
The first time we attempted creme brulee, we didn't allow it to set properly, and ended up with a runny (but delicious) pudding. Don't be discouraged! Get to know your oven and adjust your recipe to suit your needs. You can be a creme brulee expert, too!