Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Autumn and the transition of the seasons always makes me want to get into the kitchen to cook and bake. I don’t even mind washing up if it means I can warm up my perpetually cold hands! There’s absolutely nothing better than the warming spices in a cup of chai on a cold afternoon. I seem to have a habit of posting Chai recipes in Autumn, like this Chai, Fig & Almond Biscotti from last year. This time around I have created cute Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise.

I was thrilled that Chai Walli recently gifted me some beautiful products to experiment with in a recipe. This was music to my ears as there is almost nothing I love more than using tea in cooking. I find it to be one of the most delicious and versatile ingredients that can be used in many ways (as you will see in today’s delicious recipe).

Chai Walli Chai Tea ingredients + packaging

Chai Walli is an award-winning Australian tea company who sell the most authentic chai on the market! I love that their blends are derived from Ayurvedic recipes and made using whole spices. I was immediately drawn to the 11 Spice Chai, which smells and tastes incredible. It is complex in flavour and so beautifully balanced. I’m not surprised to learn it is a best seller!

In addition to organic black tea from the Assam Valley in India, it includes fennel, mace, aniseed, rose, rooibos and ajwain. Plus the usual suspects of green cardamon, Ceylon cinnamon, clove, star anise and ginger. Yes, I did have to google Ajwain, an ingredient I had never heard of before. I learned that it’s a spice and traditional Ayurvedic ingredient that has a flavour profile similar to anise and oregano, and has many medicinal benefits. The addition of the rose petals and fennel makes this one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Today’s recipe is a beautiful autumn dessert that sees tender tea-poached pears enveloped in a generously spiced cake batter. The final flourish is lashings of a creamy chai-infused creme anglaise. There’s chai in every element, used in three different ways. I really wanted to show how versatile an ingredient it is and the variety of ways it can be used to add a delicious flavour to your desserts.

Firstly, in the liquid for the Chai Poached Pears. Essentially the pears are poached in a sweet tea, which gives them such a beautiful flavour. I’m always a fan of cooked pears over raw and poached is one of my favourite ways to enjoy them. The pears are so delicious that you can eat them on their own and not even bother with the rest of the components of this dessert! Poached pears make a fantastic simple and classic dessert, however I also love eating them for breakfast on my porridge in winter!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Next up, I ground some tea in my Nutribullet to use in the cakes. I have done this before with Earl Grey to add to desserts but had not tried it with chai before. This chai blend is so flavoursome that no other spices are needed! I decided to make mini cakes because I thought they would look so cute with the pear stem sticking out of the top. I used 10 cm (4 inch) springform pans and this batter made 3 small cakes. If I was making this again I would add a make 4 slightly smaller cakes as I had 4 chai poached pears and these cakes were a little large for a single-serve dessert.

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Lastly, I infused more chai into the milk/cream mixture for my creme anglaise. This smooth and creamy custard is the perfect accompaniment for this beautiful dessert. In fact I can think of a dozen other recipes it would be perfect with, from apple crumble to sticky date pudding. The 11 Spice Chai blend has so much flavour, I actually needed to use less than I expected to achieve the perfect flavour in each element. This creme anglaise can be served warm or chilled and you can also make this element ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

Thank you again to Chai Walli for gifting me your beautiful product. We all loved this dessert and also brewing up a warm cup of chai with soy milk in the afternoon. I followed the directions on the back of the packet to make the perfect cup of tea! Full disclosure, I was sent this product for free but I was not paid to share my thoughts, and all opinions are my own. I really truly loved using it in this recipe and look forward to using it in more recipes in the future!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

These beautiful Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise use Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai in every element and are perfect for this lovely autumn weather!

Course Dessert
Keyword Autumn, Cake, Winter
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 mini cakes

Ingredients

Chai Creme Anglaise

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml pouring cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 g caster sugar

Chai Poached Pears

  • 4 small pears, peeled
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Mini Chai Cakes

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 75 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions

  1. First, make the poached pears. Add the water, sugar, chai and vanilla to a small saucepan and bring to a the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the pears. Cook, partially covered for about 20-30 minutes, turning them occasionally to cook evenly. The pears should be just tender and may take a little longer if they are larger. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup and scoop them out with a slotted spoon.
  2. To make the Creme Anglaise, place the milk, cream, chai and vanilla in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the tea so just the liquid remains and return to the saucepan and rewarm. Lightly whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk the chai hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Strain again through a fine sieve, allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. Crème anglaise will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. To serve warm, gently reheat in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. To make the Mini Chai Cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and lightly grease 4 x 10 cm (4 inch) springform cake tins with some butter or non-stick spray. In a Nutribullet with the milling blade or a spice grinder, grind the chai to a fine powder and set aside. We will use about 3 teaspoons for this recipe.
  5. In a medium bowl, with a hand-mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) beat the eggs and brown sugar together in a bowl until pale and thick. Sift the baking powder, flour and 2-4 teaspoons of ground chai. I started with 2 teaspoons but added a little more to taste. Beat until just combined. Add the melted butter and milk and gently combine all ingredients.
  6. Divide evenly between 4 prepared mini cake tins and gently push a cooled poached pear into the middle of each. Place the mini cake tins onto a baking tray and cook for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean. Remove cake pans from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the cake tins.
  7. Serve the mini cakes warm or at room temperature with the Chai Creme Anglaise.

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