Crème brûlée is a fantastic little dessert. A sweet, custardy interior is paired with the ever so slightly burnt top to give it a nice crunch. Its flavors pair well with some mint and tart berries. The base also leaves plenty of room to play with the dessert's flavors. That's exactly what today's recipe is: a tea infused crème brûlée. For this, you'll want a strong, black tea. I recommend using a good Irish Breakfast tea.
To get a good burn on the top, you could spend $25 at a local kitchen shop for a small blow torch, or just get an actual one for the same price at your local Home Depot or Lowes. I recommend the latter as it's much more powerful and can give a much faster burn.
- 4 cups chilled heavy cream
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 10 bags black tea, strings tied together
- 12 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8-12 teaspoons Sugar in the Raw (or Turbinado sugar)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags and bring the mixture to boil over medium heat. Stir a few times while heating to make sure the sugar is dissolving. Once it's boiled, remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for 15 minutes.
While the concoction is steeping, lay out a baking dish or roasting pan. Place a kitchen towel at the bottom and arrange shallow, fluted dishes, or ramekins, on the towel (this should make about eight). Start water boiling in a kettle.
Now that the cream has finished steeping, remove them and squeeze them to extract as much moisture as you can back into the cream mixture. Stir the liquid and add 2 more cups of cream to cool it down.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and vanilla extract until it's all combined. Add about 1 cup o the cream mixture into the yolks until well combined. Repeat cup by cup until all of the cream is finished. Everything should be evenly colored and combined. Strain it through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container like a 2-quart measuring cup or a medium bowl. Discard any solids left in the strainer, then ladle the smooth mixture into the 8 dishes laid out earlier, dividing evenly.
Place the baking dish into the oven rack set at about lower-middle position. Pour the boiling water into the dish without splashing any into the cream mixtures. The water should only reach 2/3 the height of the dishes. Bake until the centers of the custards have just barely set and aren't sloshy. Using an instant-read thermometer should register 170-174 degrees. This should take about 25-30 minutes, but a bit longer if you used ramekins. Check the temperatures early so you don't risk over-cooking.
Remove everything from the oven when done, and transfer the custard dishers to a wire rack to cool for about two hours at room temperature. Once cooled at room temperature, cover the dishes with splastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours, or up to 4 days.
Before serving, uncover the dishes, sprinkle each with turbinado sugar. Make sure to give even coverage, then use a torch to quickly carmalize the sugar. Refrigerate again to chill, and serve again in 30 minutes, but no later than 45 minutes.