Chai Creme Brulee
Steep 1 cup Darjeeling tea leaves in 4 cups boiling water for 7 minutes. Strain tea leaves and reduce to 3/4 cup. Grind spice to powder. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large heat-proof mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Place the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Warm just until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat and, whisking constantly, pour into the egg and sugar mixture. Add the spice powder and the reduced tea liquid. Continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is well combined. Pour the mixture through a very fine sieve into 6 creme brulee dishes, filling them only half full. Place the dishes into a shallow baking dish large to hold them without crowding. Place the dish on the middle rack oven. Working quickly to preserve the heat, finish filling the dishes with the custard mixture, making sure that it comes right to the top of each dish. Then carefully fill the baking dish with very hot tap water so it comes halfway up the sides of the filled dishes. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the custard is set in the center. Remove the custards to a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until ready to use. When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Pass the brown sugar through a fine sieve to eliminate all lumps. Generously sprinkle the top of each chilled custard with an equal portion of the brown sugar, taking care to cover all of the custard, so that it gives an even finish. Place the chilled creme brulee dishes under the preheated broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the tops are crackling brown. Remove from the broiler and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Raji Jallepalli