Chai Tea Creme Brulee (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

We put our Christmas tree out on the curb the week after Christmas and it’s still sitting there. And do you know why? Because it snowed a few days later and hasn’t stopped, and now our tree and many others are buried under several feet of snow and ice. Like woolly mammoths in glaciers, they are encased in an icy shell, waiting for the world to warm up enough so that they can be exposed. We are up to our necks in snow, quite literally, and there is no end in sight. This has been the most ridiculous winter and for the first time in eight years, I am questioning my decision to move away from Arizona.

Last week I was quickly approaching the breaking point. I was exhausted, I had a very bad head cold, and I was out at the end of my driveway with a steel garden shovel, breaking up a mound of slush-turned-pure-ice kindly left at there by the town snow plows. I was out there in my pajamas, rushing so I could get the kids to school on time, cursing the skies all the while, and I knew I needed to channel this energy into something delicious. Something sweet, that would conjure up images of warm climates and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Something with exotic spices, that would take me far, far away from this frozen hell at the first bite.

Chai tea is such a gorgeous invention. The combination of cardamom, cinnamon and ginger with a sweetened black tea is nothing short of brilliant. I’ve recently seen some cupcakes and other desserts flavoured with chai spices, and it got me thinking about how to incorporate them into something low carb. Custards and puddings are easy to make low carb because they require no flour or flour substitutes. And one of my favourite desserts of all time is creme brulee. As fancy as it seems, it’s remarkably easy to make, particularly if you have one of the small kitchen butane torches to caramelize the topping. I was given one a few years ago and haven’t used it much, and this was my chance to put it to work. I infused the cream with black tea and chai spices, and away we went.

The Results: Chai tea and creme brulee are a match made in heaven. Honestly, why have I never put these two together before? Creme brulee is always a wonderful treat and can be flavoured in so many ways. And I was impressed with how the erythritol worked as a topping in place of sugar. It didn’t get quite as hard as a burnt sugar topping would, but it caramelized nicely and gave that satisfying bit of crunch to every bit.

Chai Tea Creme Brulee

1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp loose black tea
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
1 tsp coarsely ground cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 drops stevia extract

Preheat oven to 300F.

Heat cream, tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves in a small saucepan over medium low heat, until steam rises. Remove from heat, cover the pan and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all solids and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of erythritol together until thickened and pale yellow. Add cream very slowly, stirring continuously. Add vanilla and stevia extracts.

Divide custard between 6 small ramekins (or a single one-quart ceramic or glass baking dish). Set into a larger baking pan and pour hot water to within 1-inch from top of ramekins or baking dish.

Bake until the custard is just set but still slightly wobbly in the middle, 40-45 minutes. Remove baking pan from the oven and let cool. Then wrap each ramekin tightly in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, divide remaining erythritol between ramekins, sprinkling across the top evenly. Heat with a kitchen torch until it bubbles and browns. Let sit for a few minutes to allow topping to harden. You can also brown the topping under your broiler, watching very carefully and turning the cups to ensure even browning.

Serves 6. Each serving has a total of 7.7g of carbs, but only 1.7g if you subtract erythritol.

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  1. This looks sooo good! I could dive in your little cute Creme Brulee cups..Yum!!!

  2. Torviewtoronto says:

    this look like a delicious dessert lovely

  3. Amy Bakes Everything says:

    OMG I almost fainted. I love creme brulee, the chai tea flavor sounds devoon!

  4. Food Frenzy says:

    Fantastic creation and delightful treat.

    We invite you to share this post and some of your favorite food posts on Food Frenzy.
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  5. adam& says:

    This is really good! Very creative and even more delicious than it looks, I'm sure. Love the low carb & gluten free. Nice!

  6. The Mom Chef says:

    "…at the end of my driveway with a steel garden shovel, breaking up a mound of slush-turned-pure-ice…" I left Chicago just for this reason (and a few others related to wind and cold). Thank you for re-affirming my decision.

    Your creme brulee is exceptional. I love the ingredients, the execution and the final result. Wow, I want some. Cardamom in anything makes it better.

    My e-mail is themomchef (at) Thanks for the coupons (and continuing to remember when I forget)!

  7. Carolyn, this sounds like heaven. I just bought a decaf chai tea yesterday! Perhaps, I'll try your recipe! Maybe for Valentine's Day????? :D

  8. I agree with many people who have left comments: these sound heavenly. I love creme brulee and I love chai tea. Sounds like a perfect combo to me!

  9. Lauren at KeepItSweet says:

    What a gorgeous dessert! The weather this year has been insane and pretty depressing, but this dessert makes some of it worth it:-)

  10. baking.serendipity says:

    I love chai tea! This looks so, so good!

  11. Jennifurla says:

    You poor thing, I can share our san diego weather with you if you like! This looks so terrific, what a unique twist of flavor. I'll take two please. Hope you day is going well.

  12. All That's Left Are The Crumbs says:

    I love the idea of chai flavored creme brulee. It looks delicious!

  13. Falling Flat says:

    I love the way this looks! I think I will try this one day when I have guests come over!

  14. A little bit of everything says:

    sorry to hear about the mounts of snow that don't want to leave your area. hope it gets warm soon.
    love your creme brulee, i really need to buy a torch.

    Stay warm Carolyn

  15. Looks so delish. Love your photos.
    Hopes it warms up soon. Its 70 degrees in Cal.

  16. Oh, my gosh…what a fabulous flavor of creme brulee!!! It looks like a creamy dream!

  17. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    Yeah, why have I never thought of putting chai tea together with creme brulee? I love them both! I should try this. And thanks for reminding me why, if I really have to live in the US, that place has to be California…no snow in the Bay Are and I am so happy about that!

  18. Looks divine!

  19. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says:

    This looks amazing! I love creme brulee & it must be so good with chai spices!!

  20. I Love Chai, I love creme brulee, so I know I will love this!! Looks fantastic…I wish we had 'smell o internet'!!

  21. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says:

    Oh my word does that look incredible and sooo creamy. Mmmm. What a great idea to make Chai Tea Creme Brulee. I bet it's so flavorful! :)

  22. Mmm.. it looks very good :) I wish I could make such delicious desserts :) Really amazing sweet :)

  23. Well, at the very least, you've helped me put into perspective the six inches of snow Dallas got last week … I thought the world was ending.

    But the Creme Brulee's got to help – this looks absolutely delicious!

  24. A Thought For Food says:

    This is a fantastic idea! I could totally see how those flavors would work wonderfully.

    And isn't creme brulee so comforting? I could use one right now to warm me up.

  25. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Brilliant – such an innovative creme brulee! This should be available in restaurants.

  26. I love chai tea, not to mention creme brulee, it's genius putting the two of those together, genius!


  27. Treat and Trick says:

    What a great combo! Truly amazing and sounds delicious…

  28. Man, I do not envy the snow pounding you all are receiving over there! I can not believe your Tree is still there. We got a lot of snow around Christmas time and that was pretty much the end of it. We've have dreary rain and sunshine mix since then, though.

    I have not yet tried Creme Brulee but it's high up on my list! Yours look effortless, comforting and delicious! It gives me an extra push to make it already! Hehe. I hope the snow calms down a bit!

  29. briarrose says:

    What a cool use for chai tea. I'm going to have to dig in the cabinet so see if I have some tucked away.

  30. Tigerpaws says:

    OMG – looks so good! I feel your pain living here in NYC! Do you think Truvia would work on the top since it has erythritol? All I need now is a sale on cream!


    Carolyn, you've pretty much put my two favorite things together. XOXO to you!

  32. Pretend Chef says:

    Say no more! I was sold with chai tea and then you went and said creme brulee. Everything about this sounds and looks incredible!

  33. lovely and delcious! could mop em' all up-

  34. Lick My Spoon says:

    Awww I do hope the snow lets up. Sending some sunshine and warmth from Dubai in exchange for that creme brulee!

  35. This is a great twist to creme brulee. It looks lovely.

  36. Clarkie @ Beloved Green says:

    This looks brilliant!

  37. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow says:

    Yum! That looks so wonderful! Such an inspired idea!

  38. megan @ whatmegansmaking says:

    oh I love chai tea! Anything chai flavored sounds good to me, especially creme brulee!

  39. What an interesting variation. That makes it healthy, right? I'll have to try a vegan version of this one of these days!

  40. i dont do cold weather well… It is too much for me!

    looks delicious and perfect!

  41. sophiesfoodiefiles says:

    You create the most different & special recipes & this one is no eception, Carolyn!

    This chai tea crème brûlée looks splendid!!


  42. Christina of Form V Artisan says:

    Love Chai Tea. Sounds splendido!

  43. Joy, The Herbed Kitchen says:

    I remember the first time I ever cracked the top of my creme brulee. I had travelled overseas with my dad and the creaminess and gentle flavour of vanilla filled my entire head. I like that you used chai, it kind of winterized a dessert I so often think of as a summer dessert. Absolutely lovely!

  44. Your Chai Tea Creme Brulee looks so good. When the weather is so bad, we have to grab our bits of happiness whwre we can, Like Chai tea creme Brulee!

  45. Wilde in the Kitchen says:

    Luckily my christmas tree goes in a box and into my closet, otherwise it too would be buried in ice and snow! What's up with this winter?

    Your creme brulee looks tasty, I love your flavors!

  46. Ive never had creme brulee before but last week I almost tackled it due to a ton of leftover yolks. I didn't get to it but now Im kind of glad I because finding this really makes me want to try it. It looks delicious. I just recently discovered chai tea recently too. Mmm

  47. sweetsbysillianah says:

    this sounds like the perfect dessert to dig into to get away from the cold and snow…

    i'm interested in learning more about baking for diabetics as my mom is one and i always feel bad that she can't indulge in a dessert that i bring to share. thank you for sharing these recipes, i will be sure to try them soon!

  48. A Little Yumminess says:

    This looks like a match made in heaven! Yum!

  49. Angie's Recipes says:

    I have never had a creme brulee with chai…looks so tempting!

  50. What a beautiful idea. Your masala tea cream brulee looks so appetizing!

  51. You know, I have given little brulee torches to several people in my famil . . you'd think they might have gotten the hint. I know I can go to the garage and get my husband's, but I don't. You've inspired me to! These look great! (And it has been one hellacious winter!)

  52. You're so creative. Love the idea.

    BTW – Chai is Hindi for Tea, so you're saying Tea twice in your recipe name. :)

  53. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    Love the combination of the Chai spices with the creaminess of creme brulee and the caramelized sugar topping.

  54. I adore chai! It's so comforting. Instantly wraps me up in layers of…I don't know…"oomph!" LOL

    Looks delightful, Carolyn!

  55. Cake Duchess says:

    Wow-that description of the tree being buried is unbelievable. Hope the weather gets better soon Carolyn. This looks AMAZINGly yummy:)

  56. That's one unique, but apparently quite successful combination :) I love how your brulee looks!

  57. Kate @ says:

    I can definitely relate to you on the weather front! It's been really bad out here, too… buried trees, buried cars, buried houses, etc… :)

    Now pass me some of that brulee! :)

  58. whatsfordinneracrosstatelines says:

    Love everything about chai tea, especially when it's cold. I could see what a comfort this dessert would be. I hope the weather breaks soon for everyone.

  59. Magic of Spice says:

    What an amazing flavor for creme brulee…looks fantastic :)
    Stay warm!

  60. UrMomCooks says:

    Creme brulee is my all-time favorite dessert! I'm sure I have missed out on all kinds of wonderful things because I just can't pass it up! These flavors sound delicious!!! Long live the creme brulee!

  61. THIS LOOKS AWESOME. I LOVE putting tea in various desserts. It's such a great flavoring!

  62. OK, this looks sooooo good! I want to take a spoon and eat ALL the topping :) xo

  63. This chai creme brûlée is a healthier version of my favorite dessert, so I definitely will have no qualms inhaling a few of these…haha. Wonderful creation, as always, Carolyn!

  64. Tigerpaws – I am not sure how well Truvia would work. It does have erythritol in it, but it also has stevia and I don't know how stevia reacts to heat. You could always try one, and then scrape off the topping if it didn't pan out!

  65. chai tea is a fabulous invention – amen, sista! the next time I have yolks I am so making this. i would have never thought outside of the box to come up with something like this! love it!

  66. This looks really good, but why do low-carb recipes use Swerve (erythritol)? It has just as many carbs as sugar!

    • It may, seemingly, but in reality it does not. Because the carbs in erythritol are non-effective. They never enter the blood stream and get excreted whole into the urine without ever registering an insulin response. I test my blood sugar because of pre-diabetes and Swerve barely registers on my glucometer.

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