Mother's Day

Creamy, Warming Jasmine-White Chocolate Custard (Sachlav)

by:
February 13, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
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 rose water. A dusting of ground pistachios and cinnamon, plus a sprinkling of golden raisins and even flaked sweetened coconut, are sometimes added, though I prefer to leave out the last of these. I substituted dried tart cherries for the raisins and added some fragrant candied orange peel.

I thought jasmine tea would make a delicious variation; and while the white chocolate is not traditional, it adds delicate flavor and creaminess. It's 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 tea bags for 3 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

You can serve 8-ounce portions in a coffee mug, but I prefer smaller servings: A cappuccino cupful or even a demitasse is all you need to either sweetly start or end the day.

This recipe includes an option to steep the tea overnight or add it at a later stage. Please read through the recipe carefully and add that to your prep time if using that method. —creamtea

Test Kitchen Notes

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. —LE BEC FIN

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2 bags of jasmine green tea (I like Taylor's), tags removed
  • 10 ounces plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 ounce white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 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
  • Finely chopped dried sour cherries, for garnish
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. The night before, place the jasmine teabags in the 10 ounces of 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. In the bottom of a double boiler, bring 1-2 inches of water to simmer. Turn off burner, place bowl over the pot of water (make sure bottom of bowl is not touching the hot water) and place the chopped white chocolate into the bowl. Melt the white chocolate, stirring with a spatula and watching it closely, as white chocolate can burn quickly. Stir until only small lumps remain, then remove chocolate from the stovetop to the counter and stir until chocolate is perfectly smooth.
  4. Stir the 2 tablespoons of cold milk into the cornstarch mixture, whisking until smooth.
  5. Stir the tea bag-milk mixture, then remove tea bags from milk, squeezing gently. Pour infused milk mixture, (or the 10 oz. of milk if using quick method), into a small heavy saucepan, and place the saucepan over medium-low flame. Scald the milk: warm the mixture until you see small bubbles around the edges, stirring from time to time. (If you didn't steep the teabags in the milk overnight, add the jasmine-green tea teabags here, take the pan off the heat, and allow to infuse 3 to 4 minutes. Remove teabags and squeeze gently into the mixture before proceeding).
  6. Scrape the cornstarch-milk mixture into the infused, scalded milk. Whisking constantly, heat mixture over medium-low flame until thickened, about 4 to 6 minutes. It will coat the back of a spoon and a finger drawn across the spoon will leave a streak. You can thicken a little further to the consistency you prefer: It can be pourable or spoonable, but don't overcook; this should be a soft custard with some jiggle. Once 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 until smooth, then pour or scrape the sachlav into two warmed 5-ounce coffee cups. Decorate with chopped pistachios, orange peel and/or dried cherries; serve hot with a spoon.

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