Once again today, like any other random day, I was in a high spirit for making a dessert that I had never attempted before. While I was driving to the grocery store, my mind deliberately activated its thought process, trying to figure out what to make. I felt as if several desserts were running a marathon, hastily working towards hitting their finish point — my mind.
As I was cruising my cart through the aisles, I unintentionally passed by the tea and coffee aisle. That suddenly reminded me of the giant jar I had in my kitchen that was filled with Thai tea leaves. I reminisced how my sister went to every Asian store that possibly existed, just in search for Thai tea leaves and came back dismally failed. Her endless Thai iced tea cravings finally got her to order a massive bag of Thai tea leaves online and hence the jar full of it.
My sister loves crème brûlée and so do I. But the only one I’ve had in the past is a plain vanilla one with raspberries and a pistachio crème brûlée with a chocolate ganache and pistachio brittle (best ever). As much as we love crème brûlée, we also love Thai iced tea. So today, I thought of combining the two favorites resulting in a Thai Chai Crème Brûlée.
It’s rich and creamy and has a bright orange finish, almost like that of a Halloween pumpkin!
Thai Chai Crème Brûlée
adapted from myself
1) In a saucepan, heat together the cream, sugar and tea leaves. Heat the mixture until bubbles appear around the edge. Turn off the heat and strain the mixture. (I used a cheesecloth to strain it to avoid any fine leaves.)
2) Lightly whisk the egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly add in a couple spoons of the warm cream mixture while still whisking continuously in order to temper the eggs.
3) Pour the tempered egg mix back into the warm cream and mix well.
4) Ladle the custard into 4 ramekins placed in a fairly deep baking dish. Slowly and carefully pour hot water into the pan till it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
5) Bake them in a preheated oven (350 degree F) for about 15 minutes or until the custards are just set but still wobbly in the center. Let them cool completely in the water. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
6) Right before serving, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sugar evenly on the top of each custard and “brûlée” (burn the sugar) the tops using a torch to form a crispy, golden layer. If you don’t have a torch, you can heat up the top broiler in your oven to the highest temperature possible. Move the top rack in your oven up as high as it can go. Place the ramekins in the oven on the top rack, and broil for 3 – 5 minutes, rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Take them out when they are golden brown and bubbling. Allow the crème brûlées to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. I like them cold, so I put mine back into the refrigerator for no longer than 30 minutes, else the crunchy sugar layer will begin to soften.