Chai Pudding

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes Chilling & Steeping Time:  3 hours 30 minutes Cook Time:  10 minutes

Chai Pudding

Fragrant, perfumed and rich, this sweet pudding is as complex and flavorful as a cup of spiced chai tea, crossed with the creaminess of Thai iced tea. Yum.


1 cup heavy cream

1 cup (206 grams) light brown sugar, divided

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 4 sticks  

1 cinnamon stick

¼ teaspoon black peppercorns (about 20 peppercorns)

4 whole cloves

4 whole green cardamom pods, bruised (see Kitchen Tips)

1 vanilla bean pod, cut in half lengthwise, scraped, seeds and pod reserved

3 tablespoons tea leaves, Darjeeling preferred

6 egg yolks

3½ tablespoons cornstarch   

¼ stick (⅛ cup/28 grams/1 ounce/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Whipped Cream, for serving


  1. In a 4-quart saucepan set over medium heat, combine the heavy cream and ½ cup of the brown sugar and whisk to combine. Bring to a  low boil. Add the ginger, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, vanilla, and tea and turn off the heat and slide to another burner. Cover and steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Strain the mixture through the sieve and squeeze the cheesecloth to get as much liquid as possible through it and into the bowl. Return the infused liquid to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Combine the egg yolks, the remaining ½ cup light brown sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and whisk until it is pale yellow in color and light in texture. Vigorously whisking the egg mixture, drizzle in the milk, whisking constantly for 4 to 5 minutes, until it is fully combined. (If your bowl wobbles while you whisk with one hand and pour with the other, see Kitchen Tips for a great solution.)
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the boiling spiced cream mixture.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the butter. Pour the pudding in a large glass bowl or 8 (4-ounce) ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.  
  6. Serve cold with freshly whipped cream. The pudding will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Kitchen Tips

  1. To bruise cardamom, place the pods on a cutting board. Using the flat side of a large chef’s knife, (being careful not to have the blade face you), press on the pods very gently so that they just crack without releasing their seeds.
  2. If your bowl wobbles around precariously while you are whisking with one hand and pouring with the other, dampen a kitchen towel and fashion it into a round “nest” on your kitchen counter. Nestle the bowl into it securely and continue whisking and pouring.

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