Chai Pots de Creme
Recipe type: Desserts
Serves: 6
  • Custard:
  • 1 Cup whipping cream
  • 1 Cup half-and-half
  • 1 Tablespoon loose Darjeeling or Earl Grey tea
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick (about 1"); broken in half
  • 6 green cardamom pods; pounded in a mortar and pestle just to break open the shell
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 1"); peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 1 Cup whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar (or 1 Tablespoon, if not using Garam Masala)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala; (see Recipe)
  1. Make The Custard: Combine the cream, half-and-half, tea, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let steep 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish with a dishtowel. Place six 6-ounce ramekins in the baking dish and set aside.
  3. Combine the egg yolks, whole egg, sugars, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until the mixture has thickened and leaves a ribbon trail when you lift the beaters from the bowl, about 2 minutes. Strain the spice-infused cream into a medium bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the warm cream into the egg mixture and mix to combine.
  4. Carefully divide the custard among the six ramekins and put the baking dish in the oven. Use a cup to pour enough hot tap water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and punch several holes in the foil to allow the steam to escape. Bake until the custards are just set and the centers still jiggle when shaken, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the ramekins from the hot water and let cool on a rack. (Turn off the oven and let the water in the baking dish cool before removing it from the oven.) Then chill until completely cold.
  6. Make The Whipped Cream: Beat the whipping cream with the sugar and garam masala, if using, in a medium bowl to soft peaks. Spoon a dollop of this spiced cream on top of each chilled custard and serve.
  7. This recipe yields 6 servings.
As a young teenager I spent many afternoons baking with our neighbor next door. Armed with my great love for sweets and baking skills newly acquired from my mother (who had quite a reputation as a baker), we experimented with many recipes. Some were disasters, but this recipe was one of our great successes. Spicy, creamy, and delicate, this sweet works especially well as an ending to an Indian meal; the subtle play of its sweet spice complements highly aromatic savory dishes.

Note: Garam Masala is a special spice blend which can be purchased premixed at Indian stores or food specialty shops.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 399 Calories; 34g Fat (73.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 250mg Cholesterol; 61mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 6 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.
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