Creamy, Warming Jasmine-White Chocolate Custard (Sachlav)

By • February 13, 2013 5 Comments

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Author Notes: I am in love with sachlav, an exquisite drinkable confection popular all over the Middle East. It falls somewhere between a dessert and a beverage and often appears as part of a copious and delicious Israeli buffet breakfast (and in my case, lunch, dinner and midnight snack). The traditional flavoring is orange flower or rosewater. A dusting of ground pistachios and cinnamon, golden raisins and even flaked sweetened coconut are sometimes added, though I prefer to leave out the last of these.

I thought jasmine tea would make a delicious variation; the white chocolate is not traditional but adds delicate flavor and creaminess. It is a good idea to infuse the milk several hours or overnight to avoid bitterness, but if necessary you can heat the milk as in Step 5 and infuse the teabags for 3 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. I substituted dried tart cherries for the raisins and added some fragrant candied orange peel. You can serve 8-ounce portions in a coffee mug, but I prefer smaller servings—a modest tea—or cappuccino cupful or even a demitasse is all you need either to sweetly start or end the day.
creamtea

Food52 Review: This is certainly an intriguing recipe, where cornstarch and sugar thicken an infused milk, warm with the floral and grassy notes of jasmine and green teas. I'm not sure the white chocolate made a big difference, but it did provide the additional sweetness needed to counter the tannins in the green tea. Serving this sachlav would certainly elevate a normal afternoon tea into something elegant and memorable. If I made it again, I would make a much bigger batch and have it to enjoy with friends or through the week. I would also leave out the white chocolate, and simply add more sugar.LE BEC FIN

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Serves 2

  • 2 bags of jasmine green tea (I like Taylor's), tags removed
  • 10 ounces milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold milk
  • 1/4 ounce white chocolate (I used one-half square from a Ghirardelli bar), chopped into small dice
  • Finely chopped dried sour cherries for garnish
  • Finely chopped pistachios, for garnish (you can whiz the shelled nuts in a small food processor)
  • Finely chopped candied orange peel for garnish, if desired
  1. The night before, place the jasmine teabags in the milk. Press down so that they are partially submerged. Give a stir, then cover and refrigerate. For a more spur-of-the=moment preparation, see Step 5.
  2. The next day, combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir thoroughly to break up any lumps.
  3. Prepare a double boiler, filling the bottom with an inch or two of water. Set it on a medium flame and bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Place white chocolate in top and set it over the bottom of the double boiler. Stir with a silicone scraper until only small lumps remain, then separate top and bottom of double boiler, and stir until chocolate is smooth.
  4. Stir the 2 tablespoons of cold milk into the cornstarch mixture to combine. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Stir the teabag-milk mixture, then remove teabags from milk, squeezing slightly. Pour milk into a small heavy saucepan, and place the saucepan over medium-low flame. Scald the mixture, stirring. (If you didn't steep them in the milk overnight, you can add the teabags here, take the pan off the heat and allow to infuse 3 to 4 minutes. Remove teabags and slightly squeeze into the mixture before proceeding).
  6. Scrape the cornstarch-milk mixture into the scalded milk. Whisking constantly, heat mixture until thickened, about 4 to 6 minutes. It will coat the back of a spoon and a finger drawn across it will leave a streak. You can thicken a little further it to the consistency you prefer: it can be pourable or spoonable, but as it approaches your preferred thickness, scoop a bit of the custard (about 1/3 cup) into the melted chocolate and combine well, then scrape this mixture back into the custard. Whisk well to combine smoothly, then pour or scrape the sachlav into two warmed 5-ounce coffee cups. Decorate with chopped pistachios and optional orange peel and/or cherries; serve hot with a teaspoon.

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