Masala Chai Cream Pie

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Masala Chai Cream Pie

For this spicy fall spin, the classic cream pie is infused with the warm, cozy flavors of a chai latte to create a nostalgically new creation, the Masala Chai Cream Pie. At its base is a flaky, all-butter piecrust flecked with orange zest and flavored with a splash of orange juice. The bright, citrusy flavors of the piecrust are then balanced with a creamy, rich masala chai pastry cream filling. Made from milk steeped with black tea, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, and ground cardamom, this filling packs the perfect amount of sweet heat. Butter made with Real California Milk is not only the crucial starting point for the tender pie dough in this recipe, but it’s also the indulgent last touch that takes this filling from rich to decadent. Topped with a pillowy cloud of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon and cardamom, this pie is every bit as tempting as it is tasty.

Masala Chai Cream Pie

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4.0 from 1 reviews
Masala Chai Cream Pie
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie
Ingredients
  • Orange Zest Pie Dough (recipe follows)
  • 4 (2¾ to 3-inch-long) cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cups (960 grams) whole milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 (1x1-inch) piece (13 grams) fresh ginger, cut crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) ground cardamom
  • 2 bags black tea
  • 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 7 tablespoons (56 grams) cornstarch
  • 1¼ teaspoons (3 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks (74 grams)
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups (480 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • Garnish: ground cinnamon, ground cardamom
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Let Orange Zest Pie Dough stand at room temperature until slightly softened, 10 to 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14-inch circle (about ⅛ inch thick). Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim excess dough to ½ inch beyond edge of plate; fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  3. Place plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Top dough with parchment paper. Add pie weights.
  4. Bake until edges of crust are lightly golden and just set, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights; bake until inside of crust is lightly golden, dry, and just set, 13 to 20 minutes more, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. (Do not overbake; crust will continue to firm and set as it cools.) Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. In a small resealable plastic bag, combine cinnamon sticks, cloves, and peppercorns. Using a rolling pin, roughly crush spices.
  6. In a medium saucepan, combine crushed spices, milk, ginger, and cardamom. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until steaming. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat, and stir in tea bags; let stand for 30 minutes.
  7. Strain milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a 4- or 8-cup glass measuring cup. Add more milk to measure 4 cups (960 grams), if necessary. Return milk mixture to a clean medium saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming. (Do not boil.)
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt. Whisk in egg yolks and eggs until well combined. Gradually whisk half of warm milk mixture into sugar mixture. Add sugar mixture to remaining warm milk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, mixture no longer tastes starchy, and an instant-read thermometer registers 182°F (83°C) to 185°F (85°C), about 3 minutes.
  9. Remove mixture from heat. Stir in butter in two additions. Pour and press mixture through a clean fine-mesh sieve into a large baking dish or bowl; smooth into an even layer. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  10. Spoon custard into prepared crust, smoothing into an even layer. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard; refrigerate until completely chilled and set, 8 hours or up to overnight.
  11. When ready to serve, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, remaining ½ cup (100 grams) sugar, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt at medium speed until smooth and well combined, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low; gradually add one-third of cold cream, beating until smooth and combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Gradually add remaining cold cream; slowly increase mixer speed to medium-high as the cream thickens, and beat until thickened and medium-stiff peaks form. Spoon and spread cream cheese mixture over custard as desired. Garnish with ground cinnamon and cardamom, if desired.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Zest Pie Dough
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) deep-dish crust
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) tightly packed orange zest
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons (140 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½- to ¾-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) ice water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) cold orange juice
Instructions
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, orange zest, and salt; pulse until combined. Add cold butter; pulse until butter is the size of small peas. (If any large pieces of butter remain, squeeze between fingers to break up.) Gradually add 3 tablespoons (45 grams) ice water and orange juice, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) at a time, pulsing 2 to 3 times after each addition, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Pulse just enough to form moist crumbs that hold together when pressed, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  2. Turn out dough onto a work surface. Press together until a cohesive dough is formed. Shape into a 6-inch disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. This pie has 5-star flavor, but I had trouble with production.
    Something went wrong in Step 6,. I didn’t weigh the ginger, so may have used too much, but I did not boil the milk. At any rate, the milk curdled into an unholy mess. I strained to remove the particles, and stirred the separated liquid before proceeding. There were enough thickeners to overcome the lack of milk proteins and it had nice consistency and texture. I suspect it was less silky and not quite as firm as it otherwise would have been. Nonetheless everyone loved it.

    • Hi Elaine,

      I’m sorry the milk gave you such an issue! With this recipe, it’s incredibly important to weigh your ginger. Fresh ginger contains a powerful protease enzyme, zingipain, which breaks down the proteins in milk, causing it to curdle. To prevent this, we have the recipe call for a fairly minimal amount of fresh ginger. If you continue to have the same issue even after weighing your ginger (some fresh ginger is stronger, and will contain more zingipain), you can wait to add it to the milk until it’s reached about 158°F (70°C). At that temperature, the enzyme mentioned above is neutralized, and will not cause your milk to curdle.

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!

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