I can't remember the first cup of tea I ever had, but I do remember having tea almost every morning of my life. My grandma was a bit tea drinker (She was Scottish) and that was passed on to me. When I was very little, I remember waiting for my grandma to make my tea and bring it to me in a big green plastic cup. Most often, I would burn my tongue on the first sip.
Eventually, I was old enough to make my own tea. In high school, I would wake up half an hour earlier so I could sit and enjoy my tea. It became a second nature to me - waking up, putting the kettle on, prepping my milk and sugar. I could do it with my eyes closed, which they pretty much were most mornings.
I stuck with good ol' Tetley for years and years, mostly because it was what I grew up on. I rarely drank tea outside of my own home solely because it was ridiculously expensive. $3 for a cup of tea when I could buy 50 teabags for $3? No way.
In that way, my tea horizons were never really expanded. I loved tea, but only one exact type.
Eventually, I branched out. I tried lots of different kinds of black teas, some herbal teas, a couple green teas, and one or two rooibos. At the risk of sounding close-minded, I realized that I only like black tea.
At first, loose-leaf teas were a luxury to me, only to be had in the fanciest of tea shops. That quickly faded. I still stick with teabags for my morning tea, but when I'm more awake and wanting something more flavourful, I have my stash of loose-leaf teas.
One of my favorite loose-leafs is Cream of Early Grey (pictured above, far right). I take my tea with about 1/3 of the mug milk, but the added creaminess of the tea is spectacular. It makes an ordinary Earl Grey seem that much more decadent.
That same creaminess is perfect for this dessert. I know, I know, there's enough cream already in here, but trust me, it's even better with the tea. If you don't have Cream of Earl Grey, no sweat. You can use regular Earl Grey or, as the original recipe suggests, Lapsang Souchon, a smoked tea. Whatever puts the frosting on your cupcake.
Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Pots de Crème
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
6.5 oz (184 g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups heavy crem
2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon Early Grey tea
1/2 cup sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream, whole milk, and tea to a summer in a saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Steep the tea uncovered for 5 minutes
Whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture. Strain the cream-yolk mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the custard is smooth. Cover and chill overnight.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Divide the cutard among eight 3/4 cup ramekins or custard cups. Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil and arrange ramekins in a large roasting pan. Carefully add enough warm water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custards in the water bath until just set in the center, about 55 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water, uncover, and refrigerate until they are cold, at least 6 hours.
Top with whipped cream or serve as it is.