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New Recipe: Golden Milk Crème Brûlée

Golden Milk Crème Brûlée is a delicious dessert version of the healing milk mixture. If you haven't heard of golden milk, don't worry, you're not late to the party yet. And if you haven't heard of golden milk crème brûlée, your world is about to change.

I appreciate golden milk, and I even enjoy a golden milk latte occasionally, but in the form of crème brûlée, golden milk has earned a permanent position in my dessert rotation. It's crème brûlée, which sells itself, but it also uses all the key ingredients that make golden milk 2019's "it" drink. Turmeric is combined with cinnamon and cardamom for a spice blend that gives this classic dessert a transcendental upgrade.

What Is Golden Milk?

Golden milk is a warm, creamy drink that contains turmeric. Golden milk is used in ayurvedic medicine which originated in India and takes a natural and holistic approach to health that has spilled into mainstream America. Most notably, there's a lot of hype about turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties and studies have shown that it helps support the immune system. In India, it's common to drink golden milk (called Haldi ka Doodh or turmeric milk) as a healing drink — some people drink it daily while other people drink it only when they're sick. At Yummly, we don't subscribe to particular methods of healing, but we do subscribe to all methods of making things delicious and that's exactly what golden milk does to crème brûlée. Maybe we tell ourselves we're doing it for our health as we reach for a spoon.

Golden Milk Medley

One of Yummly's data scientists, Saranyaa VR, is from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and she says a traditionally made golden milk is regular milk heated and mixed with ground turmeric, a sprinkle of ground black pepper (the pepper is said to activate the anti-inflammatory agents in the turmeric), and minced garlic, sweetened with honey. But as the popularity of golden milk has grown in the United States, so has the ingredient list. Turmeric alone is bitter to American palates, so most of the golden milk spice mixes you'll find on the internet and in golden milk lattes at coffee chains also include ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and cardamom. Americanized recipes also use various milks, so if you have dietary restrictions or follow special diets like the paleo diet or keto diet, you can substitute cow's milk something non-dairy, like almond milk or coconut milk. You can also use regular sugar or maple syrup in place of the honey to pair with dairy-free milk to make it vegan.

A Charmingly Charred Dessert

If you've never had crème brûlée before, it's a very creamy custard with a layer of crunchy, caramelized sugar on the top — the crunchy crust is typically created by blazing it with a kitchen torch. In French, "crème brûlée" translates as "burnt cream," so people tend to think of it as a French dessert, but the late homecooking guru, Julia Child, claimed it's a Creole dessert. Whatever its origin, it's been popular in the U.S. for the last few decades.

If you've enjoyed crème brûlée before but this is your first time making it, the method is actually fairly simple. The parts you may not have done before are the water bath and the sugar-carmelizig bit, both of which we give some tips on below so you can master it on your first try.

And we do hope you'll give it a try: This crème brûlée recipe will ruin you for all other crème brûlées (it is that good).

How To Make Magic

Most custard recipes call for scraping the insides of a vanilla bean to flavor it. But for this version, we left out the vanilla bean and replaced it with our own golden milk spice mix which steeps in the warm cream.

golden milk creme brulee

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, the egg yolks are whisked until smooth.

golden milk creme brulee

They're then whisked into the cream mixture slowly, to prevent the eggs from curdling from the heat of the cream. Together, it should make a lukewarm yolk mixture that looks like very creamy, very yellow milk dotted with spices.

golden milk creme brulee

The spice mix leaves behind some sediment, which you filter out by pouring it through a fine sieve.

Golden Milk Creme Brulee

To cook the custard, a bain-marie (water bath) needs to be set up. First, a (dry) baking dish is lined with a kitchen towel. Four 4-ounce ramekins are then placed on the towel, which helps hold them in place in the baking pan. The egg mixture is then distributed among the ramekins. Boiling water is then poured around the sides of the ramekins before the baking dish goes into the oven to gently cook the custard.

golden milk creme brulee

After 25-30 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, the custards should have an internal temperature of 170 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. After the dish is taken out of the oven, remove the ramekins from the hot water to cool for a few minutes at room temperature. When the custard is room temperature, cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for at least two hours to chill.

When the custards have cooled significantly and you're almost ready to serve them, sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado sugar evenly over each dish.

golden milk creme brulee

You then get to torch the sugar topping. If you're using a kitchen torch, hold the flame about two inches above the custards to lightly burn the sugar. The sugar melts quickly under the flame and caramelizes, creating a crust that cracks when you dig your spoon into it. If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can put the sugar-topped custards under the flame of your broiler for just a few minutes. Watch through the oven door and take them out as soon as you see the sugar change color.

golden milk creme brulee

Pro Tips

Crème brûlée can be a fickle confection, but if you're careful you can avoid some dessert disasters.

Avoid overcooking: Keep a close watch on how long the custard stays in the oven. Check on it after 20 minutes and if it looks set, take its internal temperature. The ideal temperature is about 173 but it can go as high as 175 — after that, the custard could bubble, which you don't want. It should look like a still cup of milk.

If it's overcooked It's not the end of the world if you overcook the custard — it can still be delicious. The longer it cooks, the denser the custard. If it's very overcooked, the eggs will curdle and you'll have a consistency similar to a pumpkin pie, which is still pretty tasty territory to be in.

Don't bump the custard! Custard is very delicate and does not travel well. A josteled or jolted custard loses its creamy consistency and becomes runny. So: if you're making it at home, plan on eating it at home as well (or drive very carefully to your dinner party).

Consistently cool After the custard is cooked and cooled, it should stay cool — if there's a lot of temperature change, it turns soupy. Once you torch the tops of the custards, you can put them back in the fridge or the freezer for just a few minutes to harden the crust, but plan to serve them that day.

Ramekins If you don't have ramekins, you can use other sizes of baking dishes. The dish you choose should be able to hold 16 ounces of liquid and it should be fairly shallow in order for the custard to cook evenly. Just make sure to watch it closely as it bakes so you don't overcook it.

I wouldn't call this a healthy recipe and it probably won't help your joint pain, but the pleasure you get from this golden turmeric dessert might just distract you from your ailments. To put it to the test, check out the full recipe for the Golden Milk Spice Mix and the Golden Milk Crème Brûlée right here.