If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a bit obsessed with infusing my desserts with tea. My go-to is usually Earl Grey (I just love the subtle bergamot flavor) and I’ve done an Earl Grey crème brûlée before. This time, I thought I’d change up this simple crème brûlée with oolong tea. I had never thought to use oolong tea, a lightly roasted tea– slightly floral and full-bodied, in a dessert, until I had Humphry Slocombe’s Oolong tea ice cream that changed my life. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I still think about that ice cream to this day. This oolong tea crème brûlée had all the silky rich texture and subtle fragrant tea flavor that I loved in the ice cream with the added caramelized crunchy sugar. If you haven’t experimented with tea and desserts, I think you’re going to love this one!
- Preheat the oven to 325° F with the oven rack in the middle position.
- Pour the cream into a small pot and heat until scalding-- just until the edges begin to form bubbles. Lower heat to the lowest possible heat setting and add tea bags. Steep for about 5 minutes, occasionally pressing the tea bags against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon very gently, trying not to break the tea bags open. The cream should be a light pale brown.
- In a separate large measuring bowl or bowl with a spout (I like to use this if possible to make it easier to pour into ramekins), whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
- Press the tea bags against the side of the pot a last time and remove tea. Slowly pour the cream in a small stream into the egg mixture whisking constantly.
- Line a deep baking dish with a towel and place your brulee ramekins on top of the towel. Fill the ramekins by pouring the cream mixture through a small sieve. Skim the tops with a spoon to remove most of the foam/bubbles.
- Pour hot water into the baking dish over the towels until it reaches about halfway up the side of the baking dish. Tent the baking dish with foil.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until center jiggles ever so slightly. The tea cups I used here were larger and deeper than your average ramekin so I had to almost double my baking time.
- Allow ramekins to cool to handle and cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Lightly pat the tops of the creme brulee to remove excess moisture and sprinkle an even layer of sugar on top. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the tops until golden brown. Alternatively you can use an oven broiler but sugar goes from perfect to burnt very quickly so set it on a low rack and constantly keep an eye on it, turning the pan as needed.
(images by HonestlyYUM)