Masala chai crème brûlée

I love to cook.

For fun I bake.

In my spare time I like to eat, fantasise about my next meal and go shopping for food. Can you blame me for my over indulgence and slight gluttonous tendencies towards food?

I do not have much of a sweet tooth but I do have a few items if I am eating out at a restaurant there is no doubt about it that I will find a little space for it somewhere in my tummy.

When I was very young and I had just eaten I would tell my dad that I was full but that I still had a little space left. While saying that using my finger I would draw the shape of an ice cream cone on my belly. I had him so well trained he knew exactly what it meant, and would ask; “so do you still have space left?” I would never say no, and not much has changed.

I think I would do the same with crème brûlée, by drawing a circle on my tummy, but this might just confuse some people. My weirdo status might slide a bit below the sanity line.

This recipe is a combo of two of my favourite things: crème brûlée and chai tea. I have used the base spices of masala chai tea and infused them in the custard base.



3 cardamom pods, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp fennel seeds

1/4tsp ground ginger

4 black peppercorns

2 bags vanilla tea

555ml cream

6 egg yolks

60g sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

12 tsp extra sugar for caramelising


  1. Toast the spices in a medium sized saucepan. Once starting to smoke and smell aromatic – do not burn, add the tea bags and the cream.
  2. Bring to a simmer, do not boil. Remove from the heat and infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence. Slowly add the spiced cream to the sugar mix while whisking continuously.
  4. Once most of the sugar has dissolved, strain the brûlée custard base through a fine sieve. Now you can fill 6 ramekins ¾ to the top.
  5. Place in a deep baking tray; fill with hot water half way up the sides of the ramekins. This is called baking au bain marie.
  6. Place in the oven at 140°C for 35-40 min until slightly set around the edges. If you give the brûlée a tap it should be firm but have a slight wobble.
  7. Remove from the baking tray and leave to cool until room temperature then place in the fridge to cool. It will set in the fridge, and should be the consistency of soft but pliable butter.
  8. Dust the top of each brûlée with a teaspoon of sugar. Using a blow torch caramelise the sugar. Sprinkle another teaspoon of sugar on top, and burn with a blow torch.
  9. The ultimate test of a crème brûlée is the two crack test: using the back of your spoon it should take two taps before the caramelised sugar breaks.
  10. When eating the crème brûlée it should have shards of crunchy sugar, creamy in your mouth, but not leave a fatty layer.

Makes: 6

Tip: once you strain the custard base it may leave fine bubbles on the top of the crème brûlée. Using the blow torch just quickly flash over each ramekin and it will remove that fine foam.

*on a side note… sorry there is no photo of the caramelised crème brûlée’s – but between myself and four other people we ate them 🙂

4 thoughts on “Masala chai crème brûlée

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