Sous Vide Chai Crème Brûlée


I grew up in a cooking family and after getting a degree in Spanish and Anthropology, realized what I really wanted to do was to go to culinary school. After working in a NYC bank for a few years, I managed to get to culinary school and got my first jobs in NYC kitchens ...

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Masala chai is a warming drink made with black tea, cardamom and spices—perfect for a crème brûlée, of course. You might want to change up the spice mix according to your own tastes (after the fact, it occurs to me that whole cloves will go nicely here), and I took liberties with adding the star anise, one of my own favorite “warm” spices. While you can play with the spice mix, don’t play with the ratios — this will give you silky smooth custards without them being too “pudding-like,” the curse of any poorly cooked crème brûlée. Note: A word about making this with the Anova Precision Cooker — you need to add something to the pot to lift the containers high enough in the water (to meet the minimum water level), but you also have to be super cautious about not letting water get into the custard cups. The best containers are jam jars with tight-fitting lids or the smallest mason jars, which have both a rubber seal and a lid that screws on or snaps shut.
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Pro-level cooking techniques made simple.

Ingredients for 4

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed

  • 1 whole star anise

  • 2 slices fresh ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 5 large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 4 teaspoons raw (turbinado) sugar


  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 179ºF (82ºC). Place a rack in the water bath (see note). Make sure the rack can hold 4 ramekins or jam jars.

  • Step 2

    Place cream, milk, cardamom, star anise, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and coriander in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Strain cream through a fine-mesh strainer set into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Discard spices.

  • Step 4

    In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and vanilla. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle 1/4 cup cream mixture into the yolks. Gradually whisk in remaining cream.

  • Step 5

    Ladle 1/2 cup custard into each of 4 ramekins or jam jars. Wrap each ramekin tightly with plastic wrap or seal each jar with a lid.

  • Step 6

    Carefully place the ramekins onto the rack in the water bath. The water should reach at least halfway up each ramekin, but not so high that the ramekins are in danger of floating OR that water might get into the custards.

  • Step 7

    Set the timer for 45 minutes. If the custards do not look set, cook for an additional 15 minutes.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 0

      When the timer goes off, carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until completely cool, at least 2 hours.

    • Step 1

      Just before serving, take custards from refrigerator and remove lids. Sprinkle each custard with 1 teaspoon raw sugar. Brown the sugar with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar is dark golden brown and bubbling. Serve.

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179.6 F / 82 C Recipe Temp
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