VANILLA CHAI TEA CUSTARD
I expect some will think this a tad mad. Others, my kindred spirits, will sense only deliciousness. I mean tea and custard, two of the most valuable bricks in the food pyramid, are together at last. It is time to celebrate. With tea custard, of course.
The tea and custard combo underwent some pretty gnarly and experimental trials, but when I first tasted this vanilla masala chai version everything in the world just got better. Warm, silky, spicy, surprising.
It can be prepared in advance for the perfect no-fuss dinner party treat, or served warm with biscuits like I have here. You can slather it on puff pastry, cram it into cookies or cupcakes, or simply guzzle it out of a jar at midnight. No judging here.
I served mine with a sprinkling of freshly ground nutmeg, dianthus (an edible flower from my garden), and marsala chai sugar which my dear, dear Harriet purchased on her recent honeymoon. Do you see the kinds of people I'm friends with? I mean she got me a gift on her honeymoon. I'm utterly spoilt.
Vanilla Chai Tea Custard - Makes just over a cup, serves 4
The custard base is my adaptation of Smitten Kitchen's, which was adapted from (HRH) Julia Child
The more creamy the milk, the more creamy the custard. I use guernsey milk because we always have it in the house. We buy Maleny Dairies' Gold Top which is like catnip to me. If you're just using normal milk & want a creamier result, add a touch more butter.
The serving sizes are a bit smaller than what I have pictured. I just really like that teacup.
1 cup whole milk - see notes
Seeds from 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean
2 teabags (black tea) with the tags removed
4 cardamom pods
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cinnamon (or a 1/2 a cinnamon stick)
3 large egg yolks
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose (GF is Ok) flour - optional
1 tbsp butter
In a pot, combine the milk, vanilla bean seeds, teabags, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Heat until warm. Take off the heat and put to the side.
In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour. This will take a few seconds with an electric mixer or a few minutes with a whisk by hand. Whisk in the flour if using.
Remove the tea bags from the milk mixture. Temper the egg & sugar mixture by whisking in some of the warmed milk. Then add the egg & sugar mixture into the same pot with the milk and return to a medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until it begins to bubble. Once bubbling, add butter and whisk it for 1 to 2 more minutes. Sieve into a bowl to remove the spices and any lumps that have formed.
Serve warm or cool. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.