Earl Grey Milk Tea & Sea Salt Cream - A flavor we've been dying to make.

Earl Grey Milk Tea & Sea Salt Cream - A flavor we've been dying to make.

I first had my first sip of earl grey milk tea at Table & Apron's restaurant, here in Damansara about 4 years ago. A maple colored milk that is filled till 3/4 of the thin glass, and then the remaining 1/4 is of lightly salted whipped cream. I remember the clinking of ice cubes inside the glass, as it tipped forward, the salty cream falling first into my mouth, then the cool earl grey milk following suit. It was a delicious mix, which i later found out, was also due to the addition of gula melaka - a traditional palm sugar which has an earthy caramel flavor. 

It is also a Table & Apron tradition to add gula melaka to almost every recipe,  that i found out from an ex-kitchen hand there. Rightly so. 

I set about trying to figure out how the heck do i make this into an ice cream, which took a painstaking 2 months. When you moonlight as an ice cream maker, that's about as fast as it can take. 

Earl Grey Milk Tea Base

We were worried that the gula melaka would not provide enough sweetness to the base because we only add 35g of sugar for every 1 Liter of ice cream base. (we try not to serve diabetes, and as a comparison, normal ice cream has 180g of sugar for every 1 Liter!)

As a comparison, we started with adding white sugar as a start. We steeped the earl grey tea in milk at a low temperature of 70 Celcius for 20 minutes as so not the burn the milk, tempered the custard base and allowed it to age overnight in the fridge. 

We then repeated the process above by replacing the sugar with just 35 g of gula melaka.

Most earl grey ice cream recipes call that you strain out the tea leaves before tempering the custard base, but we found that the tea leaves were ground so small that even when spun into ice cream, it didn't change the texture and fell through the sieve. We also liked that it was still infusing into the ice cream base overnight when it aged - something of a cold brew.

We spent a lot of time researching and ordering different brands of earl grey tea, at one point we were having sleepless nights because of all the caffeine we were consuming from testing samples. In the end  - the best was Ahmad's tea. The scent of bergamot was found be most intense. 

Eagerly churning both bases and taste testing, the outcome was like night and day. The gula melaka earl grey made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you ate it, it was like dipping into a cool sunset. The white sugar earl grey however, had a very sharp WAKE UP taste - which is great if you've got to get out of bed and save the world, but we wanted a chill cuppa, so the real winner here was the gula melaka. 


Sea Salt Cream

This one was a real pain in my butt. 

the whipped salted cream that tops Table & Apron's drink is merely whipped cream plus salt. 

I knew that the salted cream needed to be higher in % butterfat to give that full effect of having a mellower earl grey paired against the creamy mouthfeel of this salted cream. 

We increased the butterfat content of this salted cream base to 10%, and left out the stevia and only added sugar and erythritol. With such a clean base, it would be unforgiving to stevia's aftertaste and we didn't want to risk it. We added a bit of vanilla bean extract for warmth.

As for the emulsifier, it would be impossible to work with egg yolks here as we don't want a salty custard. I experimented with both soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin and found sunflower to be the more neutral alternative. Fun fact, lecithin is actually a superfood and actually lowers cholesterol!

Now for the satisfying part, mixing the bases together. 

We filled the pan with 3/4 of earl grey, then the balance 1/4 of salted cream. 

Followed by some intense stabbing and twisting :

The best part - the taste test after it all comes together. It is a pretty damn amazing flavor. Salty thick cream that lingers on your tongue, against that punchy and citrusy black tea - absolutely bombdiggity. 

With only 114 calories and 3.1g added sugar per serving, it's a winner. 



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