Earl Grey Creme Brûlée Tartlets

20140130-221824.jpgor you could call it creme brûlée pie. But i really think that it should be called tartlets. I love earl grey tea because it got a very distinctive aroma that just soothes me. Love it! Anyway about this recipe, this is just a regular creme brûlée with earl grey infused cream. Actually i just bought a new blow torch and i just have to try it out. What better way to try a blow torch than creme brûlée? But then.. Regular creme brûlée are just too mainstream. So does those stuff with passion fruit or strawberry. Why not a tea flavored creme brulee.. Bake it in a shortcrust pastry? Boom! Earl grey creme brûlée tartlets.

First thing first is the shortcrust pastry.

Shortcrust pastry ingredients:

20140206-195533.jpgcold earl grey tea (just use cold water. I was thinking about infusing more tea flavor on the tartlets but then i just remember that in shortcrust pastry, you can’t use lots of water as it will form the gluten from the flour causing it to make a tough pie shell), flour, butter, sugar+salt.

Note: be sure that your shortcrust pastry ingredients are cold (put the flour in the fridge too beforehand) and you want to work your dough fast.

20140206-210812.jpgincorporate the flour, sugar and salt on a working surface

20140206-212533.jpgmix them up and make a well in the middle

20140207-125355.jpgcombine the butter and the ice cold water

20140207-132646.jpgtime to get my hands dirty

20140208-183534.jpgmix and knead the dough just until combine.

Note: you want to knead it as fast as you could so that the heat from your hands won’t melt the butter too much.

20140208-183813.jpgonce done, put the dough in the fridge for at least an hour

20140208-184019.jpgput the dough on a floured surface

20140208-184225.jpgroll the dough. Remember to flour the rolling pin too!

20140208-184552.jpgroll it until about 1 cm thick

20140208-184826.jpgput the dough on the greased and floured pan

20140208-185613.jpgfit them in the pan and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to minimize shrinking

20140208-185814.jpgi’ve made some smaller ones too

20140208-235543.jpgline them with parchment paper or aluminum foil and put some weight on it like rice/beans/rocks, etc and bake

To make the creme brulee, first thing first is infusing the earl grey tea with the cream

20140209-185412.jpg i use lipton earl grey tea but i found its flavor is not as strong as i want it to be. I recommend using a better quality tea. Just pour the tea leaves into the cream and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. I leave my tea for 3 nights in the fridge because after the day i infused my tea, i haven’t got the time to bake until 3 days later. If you want that white creamy signature color of creme brûlée, just leave it overnight.

Creme brûlée ingredients:

20140209-000344.jpginfused cream, egg yolks+egg, sugar, milk

20140209-192214.jpgincorporate the milk and cream then heat it to a simmer

20140209-193735.jpgbeat the egg and egg yolks with sugar

20140210-153237.jpgpour the heated cream and milk to the egg mixture whisking constantly so it won’t curdle

20140210-221906.jpgstrain the mixture to get a smooth and lump-free creme brulee

20140210-222201.jpgpour the mixture to the pie shell and bake. Creme brulee usually uses bain-marie or water bath to cook. Creme brulee cannot be cook in a high temperature oven. What the water bath does is to keep the temperature of your oven nice and subtle so it won’t break the creme brulee. For this, as you can see in the previous picture, i use a wire rack to bake my tartlets and i actually put a pan full of hot water on the rack below the wire rack in the oven.

When done, take it out and refrigerate.

Once chilled, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar and use a blowtorch to caramelize it.

Shortcrust pastry ingredients:
• 1¼ cups flour (preferably cake flour but all purpose is fine too)
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 cup/1 stick unsalted butter (cut into small squares)
• 3-5 tbsp ice water
• ¼ tsp salt
How to make the tart shell:
*Use cold butter, water, and flour. Remember to work on a cool surface too.
1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt on the working surface (or if you choose to do it in a bowl), make a well in the middle and put in the butter, and water (use 3 tablespoon of water first, if you feel like it’s too dry then add the more) and mix well. Knead the dough just until it’s incorporated. It’s ok if you see any lumps of butter. Put in the fridge for about 1 hour.
2. Roll the dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it’s about 1cm thick or half an inch and fit it to your floured tartlets pan. Put in the fridge to minimize shrinking and line the tin with parchment paper/aluminium foil and use beans/rice/rocks to add weight to the tartlets.
3. Bake at 350°F or 180°C for about 20-25 minutes.
4. Take it out and let it cool.
Crème brulee ingredients:
• 1 cup cream
• 3 bag/1-2 tbsp earl grey tea
• ½ cup milk
• 3 egg yolk
• 1 whole egg
• 5 tbsp sugar
• 1/8 tsp salt
How to make the crème brulee:
1. Infuse the cream with the earl grey tea leaves by simply soaking the tea leaves in the cream and store in the fridge overnight or more.
2. Heat the milk and the infused cream over medium heat until it come to a simmer.
3. Beat the egg and the yolks with the sugar and salt.
4. Pour in the heated milk and cream to the egg mixture stirring constantly so it won’t curdle.
5. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve a couple of time and pour it to a pyrex glass or anything that will help you to pour the mixture to the tart shell.
6. Bake the tartlets on a wire rack and put a pan of hot water just below the wire rack where you bake your crème brulee. Bake at 350°F or 180°C for 30 minutes.
7. Take out, let it sit in the fridge until chill (about 1 hour if you make small ones like me) and then sprinkle a thin layer of sugar then caramelize it with a blowtorch.