This Thai tea crème brûlée is the silky smooth custard version of an ice cold Thai tea that's perfectly sweetened with condensed milk.
Perhaps it's almost autumn. Or maybe it's the time of the year where we would have head back to university a couple years back. I had a craving for Thai tea.
Back in our Uni years, we would often get Song Phi Nong, the best Thai restaurant near our college town, for dinner with our culinary friends. And surprisingly, one of the things that stuck with me the most is their Thai tea. I've always loved the bright orange color when it's combined with the condensed milk. If I wasn't lactose intolerant, I think I'd have it every day, lol.
So I thought I'd make a Thai tea dessert...and voila! We've got Thai tea crème brûlée! It's got all the flavors of Thai tea enveloped in its rich and silky smooth custard. Yeah, just think Thai tea in custard form! 😉
What does crème brûlée taste like?
Classic crème brûlée is vanilla flavor but can be flavor in a million different ways. Generically speaking, crème brûlées should taste creamy, lightly sweetened, and silky smooth with a layer of crunchy caramelized sugar. For these Thai tea crème brûlées, they should taste like sweetened Thai tea, but richer and in custard form.
What brand Thai tea should I use for this Thai tea crème brûlée?
Our friends at Moba's boba tea shop recommended Pantai brand Thai tea, and we've loved it so far. It smells very aromatic with strong hints of vanilla. The color it produces is a beautiful rust orange, and the flavor of the tea is very similar to the ones found at most Thai restaurants. So we really like it.
Why does my crème brûlées taste eggy?
If your crème brûlée taste eggy, the most likely reason is that your egg yolks are overcooked and scrambled. To avoid overcooking crème brûlées, make sure temper the egg yolks, bake it in a waterbath, and baking it at the right temperature without over-baking it.
Temper the egg yolks
It is really important for any egg yolk base custards that the yolks are tempered. The term "temper" simply means to bring the temperature of something cooler to a higher temperature of something that's warmer or hotter. So in the case of this Thai tea crème brûlée, the hot cream infused with Thai tea needs to be slowly introduced to the cool egg yolks mixed with condensed milk. So slowly drizzle the hot cream in while whisk to bring the egg yolks to temperature so that the yolks doesn't get scrambled.
How do I know if the crème brûlées are done baking?
A properly baked crème brûlée should be set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center when taken out of the oven.
Why is my crème brûlée not thickening?
If you find your crème brûlée runny, there could be a few possible reasons. The most likely possibilities are that the crème brûlée is undercooked or the egg yolk is overcooked and probably scrambled. The other likely reason is that the crème brûlée needed more egg yolks to thicken the cream since the yolks acts like a thickener in custards.
What is the purpose of a waterbath when baking crème brûlée?
The purpose of a waterbath when baking crème brûlée is to keep the custard cooking in constant gentle heat so that it stays silky smooth. If crème brûlées were left baking in the dry, hot oven, it'll curdle without a doubt. To make a waterbath, simply set the ramekins with crème brûlée base in a deep dish pan that's at least 2 inch deep and fill it hot water half way up the side of the ramekin. It may be easier for you to bring the pan to the oven then filling it with water to avoid spillage.
What kind of sugar do I use for torching crème brûlée?
I highly recommend plain granulated white sugar for torching/ brûléeing crème brûlées. Plain white sugar caramelizes the best and easily show the color of proper caramel. Plus, white sugar also cools and creates the most perfect caramel glass for your crème brûlée's iconic crack.
Why did my crème brûlée curdle in the oven?
If your crème brûlée curdles in the oven, it most likely means that the oven temperature was too high or the crème brûlée was baked to too long. In short, the crème brûlée was overcooked/ over-baked.
How do I caramelize the crème brûlée without a kitchen torch?
We highly recommend using a kitchen torch, aka a blowtorch, to caramelize the sugar on crème brûlées because torches heats up only the top of the custard. Although you can broil the crème brûlées to caramelize the sugar, it's much trickier. The oven's broil setting heats up the entire custard and tends to melt it and sometimes splits the custard.
To brûlée the tops of crème brûlées with an oven broiler, preheat the oven's broiler to at least 450F and raise the oven rack to the top level. Broil the crème brûlées in 20-30 second increments until the granulated sugars are golden brown and caramelized. Do keep an eye on the sugar because it goes from just golden to burnt in seconds.
If you're looking for other Asian dessert recipes, you may like these:
- Coconut Mango Tapioca Pudding
- Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bars
- Japanese Cotton Cheesecake
- One Egg Matcha Soufflé Pancake
Bake with love!
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Thai Tea Crème Brûlée
- Preheat the oven to 300°F and prepare some hot water.
- Combine heavy cream and the Thai tea mix in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the cream comes to a boil, remove it from heat and let the Thai tea steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and condensed milk in a heatproof bowl. When the cream is done steeping, slowly stream it into the egg yolks and condensed milk until all has been added. Add the milk and stir until emulsified.*Make sure to add the hot Thai tea infused cream slowly to prevent scrambling the egg yolks. Read more in post.*
- Using a fine mesh strainer or a strainer layered with a couple sheets of cheesecloth, strain the crème brûlée base, then divide it equally amongst three 7-8 ounce ramekins or glass jars.
- Place the ramekins of crème brûlée into a deep dish pan or cake pan (at least 2 inch deep). Fill the pan with hot water, half way up the side of the ramekins and bake the crème brûlée for about 25-30 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle stays jiggly.
- Carefully remove the crème brûlées out of the oven and out of the water. Let them cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, then chill them in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Once the crème brûlées are set, sprinkle a small amount of granulated sugar on top of and roll it around the entire surface. Torch the crème brûlées until golden brown like caramel and enjoy them after a few seconds of cooling.*If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can also broil the crème brûlées on the top rack of the oven at minimally 450°F until the tops are caramelized. Check every 20-30 seconds because sugar can burn very fast.*