I have this strange trend of posting pudding recipes when a friend publishes a new book. And by strange I mean awesome. (See this Butterscotch Pudding for reference.) Made with chai tea pudding, this ice box cake comes from the pages of Stephanie’s new book, Easy Gourmet. You probably know Stephanie as i am a food blog—you know that blog with the crazy beautiful photos and little logos that accompany every recipe? She kills it every time. I knew after landing on her site for the first time that she was going big places. I wasn’t wrong.
PS—scroll to the bottom of the post for a book giveaway!
I was pinch-myself honored to get a sneak peek of her book and say a couple words about it. I may have reread Stephanie’s email a good ten times to make sure she had the right Melissa. Here’s my thoughts then and now:
“From the stories, to the recipes, to the design, Easy Gourmetwill woo you. This is one for the kitchen and the coffee table.”
Also, she has the ability to make slabs of meat look catwalk ready. Now that’s talent.
Seemingly complicated, this ice box cake comes together with ease. That book title—Easy Gourmet—it tells no lies. Layers of graham crackers, chocolate whipped cream (why have I never made this before?), and chai tea pudding are stacked on top of each other and left to chill. Side note: if you’re new to making pudding, try this method. You don’t have to temper the eggs yolks the traditional way, which is the intimidating part.
Kev calls this Tea Tiramisu. It has a nice ring to it and describes the texture well. I call this Chai Latte Mousse. The ring isn’t nearly as nice but describes the flavor well. Either way, this Chai Tea Ice Box cake is a sure winner and makes you feel extra fancy. It’s this perfect combination of end-of-summer and start-of-fall. After taking the first bite, I proudly exclaimed, “I made that!” The complex yet tangible flavors taste straight out of a restaurant. And yet, I made it with a baby under my feet.
There is no denying it, Stephanie’s recipes will woo you. Speaking of, it’s confession time. Kev has been cheating on my waffles with Stephanie’s the last couple weeks. If that’s not a headline for People Magazine, I don’t know what is. Truth be told, I think Stephanie makes a mean waffle too (and syrup). Read on for the recipe or skip to the bottom for the giveaway.
Ice box cakes are perfect for those days during the summer when it’s so hot that you’ll do anything to avoid turning on the oven. All you need for this cake is graham crackers, pudding, whipped cream and some fridge time. You can customize this recipe any way you please. If it’s too hot to even turn on the stove to cook the pudding, you can always use store-bought. The flavor combinations are endless, but I’m partial to spicy-sweet chai tea with chocolate whipped cream.
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups (600 ml) whole milk
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 g) butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
2 chai tea bags
2 tsp (10 g) sugar
1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups (480 ml) cold whipping cream, divided
32 graham crackers
Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. In a cold saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly drizzle in the milk while whisking, making sure you dissolve the cornstarch. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook over medium heat while whisking until the pudding starts to thicken and bubble, 5-6 minutes. Reduce to medium-low and stir, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides. When pudding is thick and falls back into visible ribbons when drizzled, it’s done, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. When the butter is completely incorporated, pour pudding through the mesh strainer. Press a piece of saran wrap directly onto the pudding and chill for 2 hours.
Brew 1 bag of chai tea in 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of hot water. When cool, squeeze out tea bag and discard. Cut open remaining tea bag and pulse in a food processor until fine. When the pudding is cool, stir in the prepared tea and tea leaves.
Make the chocolate whipped cream: sift the sugar and cocoa. Mix with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cream until incorporated. Stir in remaining cream. Chill for 1 hour. Whip until medium-soft peaks form. In the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm) square pan, spread a thin layer of pudding. Lay down crackers and evenly spread a layer of pudding on top. Place another layer of graham crackers and top with chocolate whipped cream. Repeat until you have 5 layers of crackers. Cover and set in the fridge overnight before serving.