* 2 cups half-and-half or light cream
* 2 cups whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons good quality Earl Grey loose tea or 6 Earl Grey tea bags
* 9 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar or extra-fine granulated sugar
1. In a heavy medium saucepan, heat half-and-half and whipping cream over medium-low heat just until bubbly. Remove from heat. Whisk in loose tea or add tea bags. Cover; let steep for 1 hour. Strain the cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve if using loose tea, pressing out all the liquid; discard loose tea. Or, remove tea bags from cream, pressing out liquid from the bags.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater just until combined. Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg mixture.
3. Place eight 3/4-cup souffle dishes, 6-ounce custard cups or 4 3/4-ounce ramekins in a large roasting pan*. Divide custard mixture evenly among the dishes. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dishes, cups, or ramekins.
4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of each custard comes out clean. Remove dishes from water; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or for up to 24 hours.
5. Before serving, sprinkle each with remaining 1/3 cup sugar and caramelize with a culinary blowtorch*. Serve custards immediately.
Makes 8 servings.
*Tip: If you do not have a culinary blowtorch, remove custards from refrigerator. Place 1/4 cup sugar in an 8-inch skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low; cook about 5 minutes more or until all of the sugar is melted and golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Quickly drizzle caramelized sugar over the custards. Serve immediately.
*Note: You can also use sixteen 2-ounce ramekins. You may need two baking pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Cool the dessert, chill, and serve as directed.