Hello Disney Foodies! Boy, do I have a treat for you!
I want to be honest and tell you that I procrastinated about this recipe a bit. It is totally out of my comfort zone because I fell into the same trap that I warn against time after time. If you have ever read my articles, you know that I advise you not to “fear the ingredients” — that you can often make a recipe work with a substitution. Well, I feared the ingredients (you’ll see why). We then decided to approach this fantastic dessert from a different perspective. We thought — Let’s try to be as true to the recipe as possible, while finding alternatives that are readily available to most people. With that freedom, here it goes… and after the result, I am glad I stopped being scared of Sanaa’s Chai Cream!
As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my commentary. No, really, I won’t be insulted but you should feel guilty…very guilty
Let’s look at the ingredient list and subsequent substitutions I made in parenthesis underneath if applicable…
5 1/3 plus 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
(sub: 1 teaspoon of top quality Vanilla extract)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1oz envelope powdered gelatin (Editor’s note: after trying the recipe and hearing from readers, we’re thinking this might be one 1/4 oz envelope)
2 teaspoons black chai tea, ground in a coffee or spice grinder
(sub: opened teabag from top quality black chai tea)
1 cinnamon stick
(sub: I had these, but you could use ground cinnamon – about 1 ½ tsp)
6 green cardamom pods
(sub: about 1 teaspoon of Ground Cardamom)
6 whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate shavings*
(sub: small chocolate chips)
1. Combine 5 cups of cream, vanilla bean seeds, and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Chances are, your heavy cream is refrigerated, so it will take some time to warm this mixture up. Don’t rush it and burn the cream. Just stir often and let it heat up slowly.
2. Place 1/3 cup cream in a small bowl, and add powdered gelatin; stir to mix.
This should become almost doughy like once it mixes. This will later be incorporated into our heated cream that should begin to simmer shortly.
3. When the cream-sugar mixture simmers, immediately remove from heat, and add cream-gelatin mixture, stirring well until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add tea, cinnamon, cardamom pods, and peppercorns.
It took quite some time for my gelatin mixture to completely dissolve, so keep stirring. Rather than grinding up some black tea, I was able to find some nice black chai teabags. I cut one open and used the ground tea. I added in my cinnamon stick, peppercorns and Cardamom powder.
Wow, this smells simply fabulous and very relevant during the Holidays!
4. Let mixture steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water. Cover with plastic wrap, and let steep and cool for 30 minutes.
We are essentially brewing a huge pot of cream tea if you think about it
I did not have a metal bowl handy and I wasn’t about to steal one away from my neighbors dog, so I improvised yet again. I used a thick glass bowl to set into a larger plastic bowl of ice water. It worked just fine.
While we are on the topic of improvising, I didn’t have plastic wrap either (boot to the head) and used aluminum foil. Again, worked just fine – whew!
The edges of the mixture were starting to thicken and set right as the 30 minute mark came around.
5. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Freeze for 20 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken. (This additional cooling allows the gelatin to set slightly so the specks of tea remain in suspension instead of falling to the bottom of the glasses.)
Using the sieve, I poured the mixture (pushing through some thick areas) into another clean glass bowl. I then set it into the freezer for 20 minutes as instructed.
6. Divide mixture evenly among 8 (5-ounce) glasses or ramekins, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
7. Before serving, combine remaining 1/2 cup cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Dollop whipped cream onto each glass, then sprinkle with semisweet chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
Step 7 is a whole separate recipe on making fresh Whipped Cream. It is so simple and tasty that once you do it, you will NEVER use Redi-Whip or prepared Whip Cream again. I kid you not. Try it.
For my presentation, I had to use my prized Polynesian Huba Huba face glasses. Yes, I totally made up that name for them when I was a child. They are Polynesian Huba Huba faces and I hope you adopt the name so that eventually, I will just be right All Tiki God type faces are Huba Huba faces – FYI
So, let me sum this up. This recipe, even with substitutions, is very expensive. It is also a lot of work. BUT – it is so worth it. Let me state that I am not a custard or flan type fan. I usually dislike desserts of this genre. I would choose a cookie over this type of dessert any day, and I was very surprised with how delicious it was. It was cool and almost ice cream like. The Chai flavor made it feel sophisticated, yet comforting. I was pleasantly surprised. I was in such a rush to eat some of it, I completely forgot to put in the chocolate chips. I did sprinkle it with some cinnamon and include the stick.
This is something I would make for a special event or special gatherings of friends and family. Please let me know what you think of this recipe; I really hope you try it out for the holidays. Your guests will thank you for something totally unique and satisfying.
Thanks again for allowing me into your kitchen, and keep wishing upon those stars. Until next time, here are some BIG virtual HUGS from the Panda (((( ))))
Thanks again, John! Remember, all, you can watch for Chef BigFatPanda’s column posts right here! Who knows what he’ll make for us next time!