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A Creamy Masala Chai Crème Brûlée + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

Since its opening in the Spitalfields area of London, home-style Indian restaurant  has been at the top of my list of places to eat when I visit the city. If you’ve eaten there, you know why I recommend it to friends, and if you’ve been in London with me at the same time, I’ve probably taken you there to share in my joy. From day one, all I could think with each dish I tasted was, “I want this recipe!” One of the owners, Harneet, would walk me through the stories of the dishes I asked about and how they were made, but I wanted every recipe from the menu! This year my wishes were answered with the cookbook . I’m super excited to share their recipe for Masala Chai Crème Brûlée this week, and hope you like it, too! —

Why Harneet loves this recipe:  Chai is such an integral part of your day in India, and I enjoy a cup at the end of a meal so we decided to put it in dessert form. We’ve also done a version using white chocolate in place of some sugar just to make it a little more decadent.

Image above: Signature dishes from Gunpowder’s menu. All photography by

For a chance to win a copy of , respond to the following question in the comments section below by August 15th, 5PM. What is your favorite restaurant cookbook/which restaurant do you wish would publish a cookbook? The winner will be announced in the comments section, so be sure to check in again!

About Devina, Harneet, and Nirmal: Harneet Baweja and his wife Devina Seth opened the restaurant Gunpowder with head chef Nirmal Save. The restaurant has received widespread recognition including raves in the Michelin guide, Bloomberg, Harper’s Bazaar, and Time Out. Find Gunpowder on Instagram .

Image above: US Version of Gunpowder Cookbook cover

Image above: Devina Seth

Image above: Harneet Baweja

Image above: Chef Nirmal Save

Image above: Masala Chai Crème Brûlée

Masala Chai Crème Brûlée

I’m a big custard fan. Anything with custard wins me over. This is just wonderful — chai goes so well in desserts. You could also add white chocolate to the mix in place of some of the sugar.

Makes 4–6

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 Indian masala chai teabags
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup superfine sugar, 5 tablespoons for the tops
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cookies or shortbread, to serve (optional)

Preparation

1

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

2

Place the cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

3

Pour the cream and milk into a large pot. Add the tea bags, ground whole spices, and ginger and stir to mix well. Place the pot over medium heat and bring almost to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let sit to infuse further for 10 minutes, then strain the mixture through a strainer or muslin cloth.

4

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until light and creamy. Slowly pour the strained cream into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, then divide the mixture between 4–6 small ramekins.

5

Place the ramekins in a roasting dish and pour enough boiling water into the tray to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes until just set, but with a slight wobble.

6

Let sit to cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for a final set.

7

To finish, sprinkle enough sugar on the top of each crème brûlée to fully cover the surface of the set cream. Caramelize with either a kitchen blowtorch or under a very hot oven broiler. Serve straight away or return to the refrigerator until ready to eat. Serve with your choice of cookies or shortbread, if you like.

Gunpowder: Explosive Flavors from Modern India by Harneet Baweja, Davina Seth, and Nirmal Save © 2018 Kyle Books, photographs © Peter Cassidy.

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Comments

  • What is your favorite restaurant cookbook/which restaurant do you wish would publish a cookbook:
    Favorite restaurant cookbook- Tartine. The breads. THE BREADS!!! Perfection.
    Which restaurant do you wish would publish a cookbook: Blue Sage Vegetarian Grill in Southampton, PA. Even my dad (RIP) who managed to live to 94 on a diet of burnt meat and tastykakes, was pleasantly surprised when forced to attend a birthday celebration at this restaurant and actually finished his vegetarian dish. From all indications, he liked it. Tremendous victory.
    Every meal at this restaurant has been sublime- both in taste and presentation. I would like very much to know how they do it.

  • I don’t own too many restaurant cookbooks, but one that comes to mind is from a favorite local Bed & Breakfast called Willis Graves. The book is actually a compilation of B&B’s in my state, but the recipes are all tried and true. I recently hosted a themed dinner club, where Indian was our theme. It was one of the most flavorful dinner club meals we’ve had, so I’d love to try my hand at more flavorful Indian dishes! Thanks for the introduction to this cookbook and the giveaway!

  • I’m honestly not usually a big fan of restaurant cookbooks — often they’re too chef-y and assume I have an army of sous chefs to do my prep work. But I wish one of my favorite, now closed, restaurants Cook & Collins had put out a cookbook. They had really great food (including a cinnamon roll as big as my head that was AMAZING!) but they closed it and put in a taqueria/ tequila bar instead. (I have nothing against tacos or taquerias, but Houston has a LOT of them that are probably much better/ more authentic.) Also Benjy’s, one of my favorite brunch spots in town has the best migas I’ve ever had, and I’d love to know how to recreate it at home!

  • I love the Honey & Co cookbook, it is so wonderfully atmospheric and beautifully pictured. I would LOVE a Seven Lives (Toronto) cookbook😝

  • You must come to Santiago de Chile and go to Tiramisú. It’s my favorite restaurant here, and the place it’s been constructed with real Italian materials, its beautiful and comfy, the food is delicious and gelato it’s OMG kind of! And of course they have the best wines of Chile! I loooove Indian food, I’d love to have the book to cook those delicious recipes ! I hope I wiiiiiin <3

  • Paradis To Go in NYC – It’s a small deli/lunch salad counter that was just down the road from my old office. I swear I ate lunch there at least 3 days a week. The menu changes daily with new salads/mains. The killer is that they have the VERY BEST chocolate chip cookies in NYC. By far! (and yes, I’ve had insomnia cookies, jacque torres, and levain cookies and stand by my assessment – don’t at me!) So ideally the cookbook has the recipe for those cookies!

  • 11 Madison Park. I am absolutely enamored by everything they do and how they do it, from back of house to front! The recipes are of course wonderful, but getting a glimpse of what is behind the presentation thrills me!

  • Nancy Silverton’s “Mozza” is one of my favorites – recipes from Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza in LA. SO GOOD!

  • 20th century cafe, in San Francisco… I’d buy their cookbook if only to have the recipe for making their russian tea honey cake and their nectarine strudels. If ever you’re in the area, order it and sit – if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Michelle Polzine pulling strudel by hand [http://20thcenturycafe.com/]

  • Schuler’s Fresh Recipes and Warm Memories. Winn Schuler’s restaurant in Marshall Michigan was where my mother and I went to celebrate all major events and milestones. My favorite was always the Swedish Meatballs. When I became an adult and after mom was gone I bought the cookbook to recapture the love and joy I shared with mom at the restaurant.

  • Our copy of Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s “Jerusalem” cookbook is well-worn and much-loved; I’m also rediscovering the “Tassajara Bread Book”. As for the second question, Lala Rokh in Boston is just about the only Persian restaurant I’ve ever found that comes close to my mom’s cooking, so I’d love to see a cookbook from them!

  • Speaking of London Indian restaurants, I love to see a Dishoom cookbook! I already spend time scouring the Internet for Dishoom-attempts – the actual secrets to this cooking would be amazing!

  • Au Pied de Cochon cookbook from the infamous Montreal restaurant! A great way to get a taste of home now that I am an expat.

  • The Zuni Cafe cookbook is not just a great restaurant cookbook but a great cookbook, period! In terms of what restaurant I’d like to see put out a cookbook–Cosme, maybe?

  • I have so many favorites, but one that tops the list is Nora in Dallas. Elegant bistro that serves Afghan food.

  • I don’t own many restaurant cookbooks, so I hope that Plenty counts! I went to both Ottolenghi and Gunpowder on a recent trip to London and both were phenomenal.

  • Red Diner in Wappingers Falls, NY has wonderful authentic Sri Lankan food. Comfort food at its finest!

  • I would love, love, love the Whiskey Jar in Charlottesville, VA to publish a cookbook. Their sweet potato dumplings in creamed spinach is amazing and I’ve not been able to replicate it on my own. Also, those refrigerator pickles! YUM!

  • I cannot wait to make this recipe!!! I can’t imagine anything better than the crisp sugar crust and wonderful chai spices.

    There is a phenomenal Ethiopian restaurant here in San Diego Diego called
    Muzita Abyssinian Bistro. The spices are incredible, and their food is so good it would make even the staunchest carnivore love vegetarian food. They actually have a wonderful chocolate vegan creme brulee too. I would scoop up a cookbook of their recipes in a heartbeat.

  • The Brown Sugar Kitchen cookbook (Oakland CA) is a staple at my house.

    The Etoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon, Yountville CA, now defunct, never published a cookbook. I wish it had.

  • Oh…… Flour Bakery in Boston Book, the best!
    Dali Tapas in Cambridge Ma I love everything there.

  • My favorite restaurant cookbook is The Lost Kitchen and the restaurant I WISH would it out a cookbook is Crooks in North Carolina. It has been my favorite restaurant for over 30 years and is still going.

  • My favorite restaurant cookbook is the Guerrilla Tacos cookbook from Los Angeles. Technically they were still just a food truck when their cookbook was released, but they have a brick and mortar location now! I was soooo happy to finally know how to make their TDF sweet potato tacos.

  • Their sweet potato dumplings in creamed spinach is amazing and I’ve not been able to replicate it on my own. Also, those refrigerator pickles! YUM!

  • Their sweet potato dumplings in creamed spinach is amazing and I’ve not been able to replicate it on my own. Also, those refrigerator pickles! YUM!

  • I don’t own a single restaurant cookbook but I would love the recipes for Yoder’s Pies in Sarasota, Florida. They are a well-known Amish restaurant and they strawberry rhubarb pie was particularly delightful.

  • I would love if Goblin Market in Mount Dora, Florida created a cookbook. I need to know the secret to those artichoke hearts!

  • Two of my favourite cookbooks of all time is Polpo: a Venetian cookbook of sorts by Russell Norman and Spring by Skye Gyngell. Polpo, the restaurant tucked in a quiet corner in the business of Covent Garden and Spring which is just around the corner from Somerset House in London are utter delights to dine in and I have savoured the opportunity of being able to cook at home some of the signature dishes on offer.

  • I wish gunshow in atlanta would release a new cookbook because their coconut curry shrimp is incredible and I could go to the restaurant and just get that dish :) :) :)

  • My favorite restaurant cookbook is from the Manhattan restaurant Home. There’s a chocolate pudding recipe that is killer. I wish Wishbone in Chicago would publish a cookbook.

    • The Home restaurant that was on Cornelia? It was my great Aunt’s favorite place to go. I still have fond memories of going there with her. Unfortunately, it’s closed now!

  • I wish restaurant Marconi in Montréal would publish a cookbook! It’s easily my favorite restaurant in the city, everything is so delicious and the cocktails are wonderful! If you want to treat yourself with a great meal, it’s the place to try! My favorite cookbook is from a vietnamese restaurant in Paris named Paris-Hanoi.

  • My favorite is The French Laundry Cookbook. The restaurant is in Napa, only a few hours away from me. We go there every time we visit wine country!

  • Sadly my cookbooks are in storage with other household goods as we renovate an old, neglected craftsman-style cottage. I long ago memorized basic recipes and ratios so many of the “great” cookbooks sit unopened. Now I seek exotic (to me) flavors – so Jerusalem is a favorite or one I can’t recall the name of but was made as a visual tour through the Mediterranean and had surprisingly authentic recipes. I would love Fatiha’s Provence, a small restaurant in Rosamond, CA, to share her hand-written and memorized-from-grandmother expertise.

  • Flour + Water has a fun cookbook. Their menu is full of variety and flavor-packed eats (it’s different each visit!) and the cookbook explores some of that while also exploring the fundamentals and reasonings behind specific choices they make.

  • Ooh, I tried to have dinner at Gunpowder last time I was in London but was unsuccessful – so the cookbook would give me a great taste of it, so to speak! For a cookbook I would love one from my favorite cash-only, hole-in-the-wall Malaysian place in NYC, Nyonya. I’ve been going there for 20 years and would love a peek into their amazing flavors and to be able to share those recipes and flavors with friends from around the world! The other one I would love is Indian Accent. I’ve been to the NYC and Delhi locations and would LOVE to be able to recreate that spicy pumpkin amuse bouche soup…. now I’m salivating just thinking of it.

    • Hi Lauren

      We actually read and approve all of the comments so apologies for your frustration leaving one! They just don’t get published right away (until we read them and approve!)

      Caitlin

      • Thanks, Caitlin! It’s just a bit weird because when you hit submit, instead of confirming that a comment was submitted, it says ‘reloading page’ and refreshes. Sorry for the multiple submissions; I was clearly too excited by the possibility of receiving this awesome-looking cookbook!

        • I hear you re the cookbook entries! And no worries whatsoever :) I’ll check on that reload/refresh issue!

          Caitlin

  • Hello from the Pacific Northwest! The most beloved cookbook in my kitchen is Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok. Stained pages are filled with sticky notes and the tired spine routinely falls off. Pok Pok deserves this much love because it accomplishes the difficult task of presenting Thai ingredients and culinary processes foreign to the American kitchen in a way that is methodical, approachable and fun. Another Portland restaurant I wish would release a cookbook is Papa Haydn – their desserts are pure magic!

  • I love the Cheeseboard Cookbook. It reminds me of my college days, standing in line waiting for a delicious slice. And all of the afternoons spent enjoying it on the divider.

  • My favorite restaurant cookbook is Milkbar by Christina Tosi. Her inventive and creative approach to dessert is so fun!

  • My favorite restaurant is Toki Underground in Washington DC! Would love to make ramen like them at home :)

  • Padmanadi, a vegan/vegetarian place in my city that makes the most amazing non-meat dishes. Lots of strong asian flavours!

  • My favorite restaurant cookbook is Jack Allen’s Kitchen cookbook, it’s a fun read with vibrant pictures, and I get rave reviews on everything I make from it.

    And I’m so excited about this recipe, I looooove creme brulee, it’s my all time favorite dessert!!

  • I hope restaurant owners and cookbook editors have taken note! A lot of good suggestions here!
    Priyanka, your suggestion of Nora in Dallas which specializes in Afghan cuisine, is the winner this week. We don’t see enough coverage of that food and culture in our cookbooks!

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