Monday, December 3, 2012

Chai Cream

by Darla

When the Hubster and I were at Walt Disney World back in October, we had dinner one night at Sanaa Restaurant, located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village.

(Yes, I know I have yet to share photos of our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costumes. I’m sorry. I’ll get them up eventually.)

Anyway.

That dinner, the first of many that we enjoyed during our week stay, was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The restaurant serves a sort of fusion of Indian and African foods; basically, it’s African food cooked with Indian flavors. It. Was. Wonderful.

I started with the Indian Style Bread Service, which includes kulcha, pappadum, and 3 different naans (all delicious, but especially the naans), and 5 various dips and sauces (you get to choose from nine).

For my entree, I chose the Butter Chicken and Spicy Durban Chicken, served with basmati rice. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you probably already know that I have a slight obsession with butter chicken. Obviously, it was my favorite of the two. It wasn’t the best butter chicken I’ve had, but it was very tasty.

Finally, I finished up my meal with chocolate cake for dessert. Because chocolate.

It was fantastic, truly, but the Hubster got the Dessert Trio, which included something called Chai Cream, that he let me try, and I died. Then I came back to life and stole most of it from him because it was just that good.

I’m going to sound ridiculous here, but I don’t even care you guys. This dessert was nothing short of transcendent. My reaction to it was brutal and immediate. I could not go on with my culinary lifestyle and not recreate this incredible concoction myself.

I’m serious.

I asked the server if she had any idea what the recipe entailed, but she wasn’t really sure. The texture was the greatest mystery to me. It was too light to be a pots de creme or custard, but heavier than, creamier, fuller than a whipped cream. I had to know the answer.

And I found it. From the chef himself, Chef Robert Getchell. The secret is gelatin.With the chef’s own recipe in hand, I set out to make my own chai cream, with a few changes, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic with the results. I hope you all enjoy as much as I do.

The recipe is seriously easy, but I have one note for you that I had to kind of figure out myself…

…the gelatin in the recipe is combined with a small amount of cream. The original recipe called for 1 packet of gelatin being mixed with one-third cup of cream, which forms a sort of gelatin-cream paste. I didn’t like this thick, kind of doughy paste, so I upped the cream a bit to a half cup.

When I first added the cream, the gelatin just sort of floated around in there and I thought, “Well, great. I’ve ruined it.”

But I walked away to work on a couple of things for about five minutes, and when I returned, the mixture had turned into the creamy, full mixture you see pictured above. So when you add your gelatin and it doesn’t do what you expect, just be patient. :)

This recipe really just involves a little heat, some stirring and steeping, and a lot of waiting. And the waiting is so amazingly worth it. Once everything is mixed and steeped and chilled, you’ll divide it into serving containers, and chill again for four hours.

I know.

It’s a long time, but you have to trust me when I say that it truly is worth it. Truly.

Look at it. Look at the lovely spices. Look at the creaminess. The spiciness. The flavor.

Yes, the flavor. You can totally see the flavor.

These are light, creamy, just completely and totally wonderful to eat. They’re perfectly chai flavored, in a light and enjoyable way; not too spicy, not too sweet. Perfect.

Can you tell how smitten I am with this recipe??

And. They totally work for the holiday season, with all that cinnamon and cardamom, but since they’re so light and cool and refreshing, they would be excellent on a warm summer night, as well.

Top these with some fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings, and make the whole world happy. The end.

Enjoy!

Chai Cream
Makes about 8 half cup servings

Ingredients

5 cups, plus 1/2 cup, heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope gelatin
2 tea bags Chai tea
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
5 black peppercorns

1 recipe whipped cream

In a large saucepan, combine 5 cups of heavy cream and the granulated sugar, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.

While the cream mixture is warming, combine the remaining half cup of cream with the envelope of gelatin. Stir together and let sit about five minutes. After the gelatin has absorbed the cream, stir together until somewhat smooth (it may still be lumpy, that’s ok); set aside.

Once the cream-sugar mixture comes to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Empty the contents of the tea bags into the pan, then stir in the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and peppercorns, and allow to steep for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, place the pan in an ice bath in a large glass or metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly to the surface of the pudding, and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Once cooled, remove the plastic wrap, and pour and press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove as much of the tea leaves as possible.

Cover and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. After chilling, divide the mixture evenly between 8 or 6-ounce serving dishes. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Garnish with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Serve cold.

Recipe adapted from Disney’s Sanaa Restaurant’s Chai Cream by Chef Robert Getchell

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers December 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

This sounds amazing.

The photos are glorious. I LOVE your cups and the wee white spoonies! LOVE!!

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2 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar December 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

This sounds so lovely. What a treat!

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3 Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen December 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Oh my heavens. It’s like you are speaking my language.

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4 Linda December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I went to Disney this summer and I ate at the same restaurant. The bread trio is fantastic! That was by far my favorite part of the lunch!

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5 Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie December 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Chai is my favorite – I WILL be making this. It sounds incredible!! Would you mind sharing what brand of chai tea you used? There is so much variation among brands – I’ve had some chai that I think would be a bit too intense for a dessert!

Thanks for being awesome :)

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6 Shelan December 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

The white spoons do go the best with those cups! I really want to try that recipe, it looks fabulous!

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7 sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more December 4, 2012 at 6:57 am

oh my gosh that sounds amazing!

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8 Andrea R December 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm

You’re the reason I even tried chai lattes at Starbucks! Now I love them! This looks incredible!

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9 Fabelicious December 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I am so intrigued by this. I love Indian food and spices even in dessert. Totally trying this out. Thanks for the recipe!

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10 Lydia G December 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I think I’ve died and gone to heaven, love Chai and I love when I can enjoy it in new ways, I’ll be trying this out VERY soon!

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11 Emily January 10, 2013 at 9:19 am

I made this last night because I am a slave with anything that has the word “chai” in it. It was incredible! All of my friends thought so too! The only thing that was weird was that when I mixed the gelatin and the cream, it totally never got creamy like yours did and I had to put it in the freezer for about an hour for it to firm up even a little, but by the time it was done chilling in the refrigerator it looked perfect! Thanks so much for this amazing recipe! I will make it 874578349 times a day. ^_^

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12 Lubs April 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm

This sound delicious! I will be making this for my dessert party.
Would you please tell me the measurement of an envelope of gelatin? My gelatin is in a jar, and therefore I would like to know the amount.
Thank you for the inspiration

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