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Chai Creme Brulee: the thin layer of crisp burnt-sugar caramel sits on top of a velvety and smooth custard redolent with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and other spices; it tastes just like a caramel chai latte.
5 from 1 vote

Chai Creme Brulee

Author Rebecca Lindamood


  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean split in half lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 3 heaping tablespoons loose leaf chai tea or 10 chai tea bags
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar or raw sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

For the Burnt-Sugar Caramel Layer

  • 2 teaspoons organic or raw sugar per ramekin


To Make the Chai Custard:

  • Preheat oven to 325F. Put a large kettle of water on to boil.
    Stir together the milk, whipping cream, vanilla bean and vanilla seeds, and chai tea in a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring just to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the tea leaves or bags and vanilla bean. Wipe any sediment from the pan, and return the cream mixture to the clean pan. Place over low heat to keep hot.
    Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or with a hand mixer on high speed until thickened and lighter in colour.
    Carefully whisk in a small amount -about a half a cup- of the hot milk and cream mixture. When that is fully incorporated add the rest of the milk and cream mixture and whisk thoroughly but not vigorously.  Divide evenly among ramekins or small jelly jars.
    Place jars in a roasting or sided-baking pan that is just large enough to hold them all. Place pan on center rack in the preheated oven. Carefully pour water into the pan, taking care not to pour the water into the custard, until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the custard dishes. Loosely tent the pan with foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until the custard is set on the outside edges, but still a bit wobbly in the center.
    Remove custard cups to a cooling rack from the water-filled pan. Cover and chill at least 6 hours prior to serving, but preferably overnight and even up to a couple of days ahead of time .

To add the burnt-sugar caramel crisp layer:

  • Working with one ramekin at a time, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of organic sugar on top of the chilled custard. Rotate the ramekin around to evenly distribute the sugar. Use a blowtorch or culinary torch to melt the sugar, sweeping the flame evenly over the surface of the sugar as it melts and caramelizes. You want it to be deep mahogany brown all over and maybe even blackened in a couple of spots. Let the caramel harden for at least 1 minute before serving.