Creamy Chai Cheesecake (or is it Pots de Crème?)

Creamy Chai Cheesecake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

As some of you know my oven blew up last week, literally! I am still waiting with bated breathe for the UPS driver to deliver the new heating coil, so I can resume doing the thing I love most. It should finally come tomorrow and believe me I am regretting not paying the extra $37 to have it delivered overnight! Patience is clearly something I need to work on.

Just before the oven combusted I’d made this creamy chai cheesecake. I guess it would be more aptly called a chai cream cheese pots de crème. Unlike the dry, grainy version so many of us are used to and frankly don’t care for, this cheesecake is so smooth and creamy that it is just barely set. It is baked in a cup or ramekin, like a pot de cream, without the distraction of a crust.

I was inspired by the chai pots de crème recipe in Indian Home Cooking, but was craving cheesecake. The combination is dynamite. I served it with the sugar plums that were meant to be roasted but ended up macerating in brown sugar and ginger overnight.

First you will make the chai cream to be added to the cheesecake:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons loose Darjeeling Tea or Earl Grey tea

1 cinnamon stick

8 green cardamon pods

8 whole cloves

A 1 1/2-inch piece fresh peeled ginger cut into chunks

8 peppercorns

1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Chai Tea | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use a very fragrant Tea, it has to shine through all of the other ingredients.

Whole Cardamom Pods | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pound the whole green cardamon pods in a Mortar and Pestle just to crack the pod and reveal the seeds.

Cream, Chai Tea and Spices in a Pot | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Put the cream, tea and spices into a sauce pot and heat very slowly. Once the cream comes to a simmer turn off the heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes, or

Creamy Chai Cheesecake Mixture | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. The longer you allow the spices and tea to steep in the cream the more intense the flavor your cheese cake will have.

In the meantime you will make the cheesecake:

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened

1 cup crème fraîche

1 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks

1 cup chai heavy cream (from above)

Preheat the oven to 300º

Beat the cream cheese on slow in your Stand Mixers until smooth, scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula.  Add the crème fraîche and mix until smooth, scrape the bowl down. Add the sugar and mix until smooth, scrape the bowl down.

Add the yolks two at a time and scrape the bowl after each addition.

Creamy Chai Cheesecake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Strain the chai cream over the cheese cake mixture and then mix until incorporated.

Creamy Chai Cheesecake In Ramekins | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Divide the cheesecake batter into 12 4-ounce Ramekin.

Creamy Chai Cheesecake In Ramekins | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set the ramekins into a roasting pan lined with a towel and fill the pan with hot water, to create a water bath. The water should come up about half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Tent the pan with foil, cutting vents for the condensation to escape.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on the shape of your ramekins. The cheesecake will puff just very slightly and no longer look wet on the surface.

Allow the cheesecake to sit in the waterbath until they are no longer too hot to handle with bare hands. This will prevent them from cracking. Let them sit on a cooling rack until room temperature and then cover and transfer to refrigerator. Allow to cool for at least an hour before serving. They can be done a day or two ahead. Serve with the macerated plums and a dollop of crème fraîche. Enjoy!

18 thoughts to “Creamy Chai Cheesecake (or is it Pots de Crème?)”

  1. Zoe, this looks absolutely fabulous!!!! I adore cheesecake without the distraction of the crust and I must try this. One question, could one use a quality Chai tea blend either loose or in tea bags? If so, how much should be used.

  2. Hi Laura,

    I would say to start with a few tablespoons, if the tea you have is really strong and you can let it steep for a while. If it is a weaker tea then go for more. The flavor has to come through all of that cream and the cheese.

    Let me know how it comes out and how much you ended up using.

    Enjoy, Zoë

  3. Thanks Clumbsycookie!

    Hi Hannah, I have got to get your book and check out your recipe for chai cheesecake. I’m assuming it is vegan and I’m always looking for great recipes to share with my brother who is vegan.

    Thanks! Zoë

  4. Mmm.. cheesecake pot de creme? This sounds so heavenly! Love the presentation as well. I remember when my oven stopped working some time back and how anxious I got, waiting for someone to come and get it fixed!

  5. Hi Zoe,
    I’ve just come across your website for the first time. I’m fully intrigued!
    I’m planning a Thai-themed menu for a dinner party this weekend, and I think this dessert would make the perfect jewel on it’s crown 🙂
    Question though: Cardamom pods. Are they difficult to find? I haven’t the faintest idea where one would locate such a thing, let alone in what section of the grocery store they’d be!
    Please help. 🙂
    Thank you!

  6. Hi Alicia,

    Is there an Asian grocery store near you that sells Indian food? If so, that is the cheapest way to buy them. You can find them in grocery stores or at a place like Penzey’s but they will be much more expensive.

    Enjoy!! Zoë

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