Tea-flavored Crème Brûlée

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I got myself a new little toy. The blowtorch. Like finally. Because I wanted to make crème brûlée and burn the meringue on lemon meringue tart for so long. It isn’t expensive but I didn’t think it was necessary until I strongly craved for crème brûlée recently and really wanted to try my hands on it.

Since it was my first attempt on this classic dessert, I decided that following the master, Pierre Hermé’s recipe would be a safe bet. I got the recipe from his book, Desserts which was written by Dorie Greenspan. This is an amazing book with wonderful pictures. Every item looks like a work of art, even a simple pain perdu looks so delicious to me, who isn’t a fan of that french toast to begin with.

I especially like crème brûlée to be flavored with tea. For this recipe, I used one of my favorite tea, the TWG Alphonso, which turned out really well. I really liked the prominent flavor of the tea in this recipe. PH used apple tea but he mentioned that earl grey would be comparably good too. And not forgetting to mention, I had fun with the blowtorch! I am thinking of more excuses to use it, maybe the lemon meringue would be next on…

Tea-flavored Crème Brûlée (Adapted from Desserts by Pierre Hermé, Written by Dorie Greenspan) Makes about 12 servings

The Custard

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon loose apple or earl grey tea (I used TWG Alphonso Tea)
8 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream

 

Directions

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to about 210F.
  • Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan or in a microwave oven. Stir in the loose tea, remove the milk from the heat, cover and allow it to infuse for 4 minutes.Strain the milk and discard the tea leaves.
  • In a mixing bowl with a spout, whisk together the yolks, sugar and heavy cream, beating to blend the ingredients but not to incorporate air. Whisking constantly, drizzle in about one quarter of the milk. When the yolks are acclimatized to the heat, add the rest of the milk in a steady stream.
  • Pour the custard into ramekins, making sure that the cream is not poured to a depth greater than 3/4 inch, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and slip it into the oven.
  • Bake the custards for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature. Chill the custards for at least 2 hours before caramelizing the tops. (The custards can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept covered and chilled.)

 

The Caramelization

  • Sprinkle a thin coating of light brown sugar over each chilled custards. (Do not use dark brown sugar – it burns before it caramelizes.)
  • Using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar a patch at a time. You should have a crispy, crackly topping. Once caramelized, the crème brûlée should be served immediately.

 

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