Masala Chai Creme Brulee

Masala Chai Creme Brulee Recipe

This version of crème brulée is flavored with the spices that are used in masala chai. Cloves, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon give the dessert the distinct flavor of masala chai combined with the richness of a French custard. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but after the first bite it has become my favorite flavor. Don't get me wrong; lemon, butterscotch and green tea are great flavors, but the masala spices are absolutely intoxicating.

I'm not a big tea drinker, but whenever we have a party and serve masala chai, I end up drinking all the leftovers. What can I say, I'm addicted. Even though the flavors of this drink are fabulous, it's probably good that I don't drink this particular tea that often because of its high caffeine content. Masala chai crème brulée has as much caffeine as a cup of masala chai, along with all the fat that is found in a crème brulée. Something else to keep me awake at night!

Chai Tea Creme Brulee Recipe with Picture


Yields: 8 ramekins

4 egg yolks
5 tablespoons superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods, crushed with a mallet
1 clove
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 black tea bags
1- ½ cups white baking chocolate (8 ounces)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar


Preheat the oven at 325°F.

Break the white chocolate bar and finely chop it using a chef's knife. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk, cardamom, clove, ginger and cinnamon. Bring it to a near boil. Turn off the heat and immediately add the chocolate chips and tea bags. Using a spatula, keep stirring until the chocolate is fully incorporated (see tips). Let the tea steep for about 2 minutes, depending on how strong you want the tea flavor (no more than 4 minutes or the tea will release its acidity); the color will turn amber.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 5 tablespoons of sugar until they become pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Combine the dairy liquid with the egg mixture by slowly adding a ladle of the dairy liquid at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling (it's called tempering).

Strain through a fine mesh and discard all the solids and spices.

Fill 8 (4-¼-inch diameter) ramekins (make sure they are heat-proof) with the crème brulée custard. Place them in a warm water bath in a deep baking pan. The water should go half-way up the side of the ramekins (at least  a 1-½-inch-high level of water). Loosely cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The texture of the crèmes brulées should be a little jiggly but not liquid (the custard will get firmer and creamier as it chills in the refrigerator).

Allow the crèmes brulées to cool completely first, then plastic-wrap each individual cup and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up other food odors from the refrigerator if the cups are not sealed properly.

When serving, unwrap the cups and sprinkle about 1-½ teaspoons of sugar in each cup, then caramelize with a culinary torch.

Enjoy it with a cup of masala chai.

Bon appétit!

Masala Chai Recipe with Picture


I used PG Tips brand tea. That's the brand that my father-in-law grew up on back in India. He orders it from

Belgian White Chocolate Picture

I used Belgian white chocolate that I bought directly from the local market but you can use any other white chocolate chips.

A pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the dessert and enhances its sweetness.

While waiting for the cream and milk to boil, you have to be very careful. Don't go anywhere else. If the phone rings or someone's at the door, let it go. You really have to focus until the cream and milk is hot, otherwise you'll be cleaning your stove and scraping off burnt milk all night long! As soon as some bubbles come up, turn off the heat and immediately add the black tea and white chocolate.

While letting the chocolate steep in the dairy mixture, it's preferable to stir the mixture until the liquid is smooth, rather than whisking to create as little milk froth as possible. You don't want a latte foam to form.

If you don't own a blow torch, you can place the crèmes brulées under the broiler of the oven until the sugar caramelizes. But if you decide to make this dessert quite often like we do, a culinary torch is a good investment.

Set aside the egg whites in the refrigerator and save them for making tuiles cookies (literally "roof tiles" in French).

When you take the pot de cremes out of the oven, they should be a little jiggly. Refrigerating them for at least 3 hours helps create a firmer consistency.

You can check out more custard recipes such as my mango coconut crème caramel.

Tea Creme Brulee Recipe with Picture

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on February 5, 2010.


[-] yummy - Guest-bonbon
This really looks delicious. I like the dessert with caffeine. It's like having tea with your dessert. I would love to try this recipe!
[ Posted at 9:59 PM on 2/5/10 | Reply ]
[-] Masala Chai Creme Brulee - Guest-DailyChef
This is fantastic! I love masala chai and I love creme brulee, but I've never even thought of putting them together.

DailyChef Website Link
[ Posted at 10:15 AM on 2/6/10 | Reply ]
[-] Masala Chai Creme Brulee - Guest-doggybloggy
stopped me dead in my tracks - this is outstanding -

doggybloggy Website Link
[ Posted at 4:28 PM on 2/6/10 | Reply ]
[-] Lovely photos - Guest-Memoria
My mother just bought a bottle of chai masala with different blends of spices. She got really excited about this recipe. I will send it to her immediately. Fantastic photos.

Memoria Website Link
[ Posted at 6:40 PM on 2/6/10 | Reply ]
[-] chaiiiii - Guest-anna
Yay, chai! I've used chai spices in all different kinds of desserts and creme brulee sounds so good!

anna Website Link
[ Posted at 10:50 AM on 2/7/10 | Reply ]
[-] Masala Chai Creme Brulee - Guest-OysterCulture
I love the flavor components here, I'm having a dinner party tonight and I may have to rethink my dessert. This sounds so special

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 6:17 AM on 2/8/10 | Reply ]
[-] Whoa - Guest-MaijaHaavisto
Sounds lovely. I'm a big fan of chai. Now I just need to figure out how to veganize this recipe. ;->

Maija Haavisto Website Link
[ Posted at 8:36 AM on 2/9/10 | Reply ]
[-] dessert tofu? - Guest-nk
I'm not sure how exactly, but I bet dessert tofu would be a nice ingredient for the custard part. I mean, it's sweet, is usually served chilled and it's already got that silky consistency, right?
[ Posted at 11:25 PM on 4/3/10 | Reply ]

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