Milk tea is a delicious result of Hong Kong’s melting pot history. Chinese tea drinking rarely involves dairy, but the British influence in Hong Kong created what recipe developer and fashion designer Peter Som describes as a magical elixir made by combining strong black tea and sweetened condensed milk. Sweet, bitter, creamy, and so, so good, milk tea is very drinkable on its own and is an irresistible base for this bread pudding. Melted and warmed vanilla ice cream makes for a lightning-fast, no-stress crème anglaise.
For the rest of Som’s Thanksgiving menu, see his recipes for Asian Pear Salad With Peanut-Lime Dressing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Gochujang Brown Butter, Sweet Potato Tian, Dutch Oven No Mai Fan, and Char Siu Wellington.
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1-lb. brioche loaf, torn into large irregular pieces
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Tbsp. granulated sugar
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
tsp. vanilla extract
black tea bags (such as English breakfast)
large egg yolks
Unsalted butter (for pan)
cup golden raisins
pint vanilla bean ice cream or gelato
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
20-oz. can lychees, drained, halved (optional)
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 300°. Spread out brioche on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, tossing halfway through and reducing oven temperature if browning too fast, until brioche is very dry and lightly toasted, 25–35 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, bring condensed milk and half-and-half to a bare simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla until sugar is dissolved. Add tea bags and let sit 25 minutes.
Remove tea bags from pan, wringing them out over pan; discard tea bags. Whisk egg yolks and egg into tea mixture until incorporated.
Increase oven temperature to 350°. Butter a 13×9″ baking dish. Arrange brioche in an even layer in baking dish and scatter raisins on top. Pour custard mixture over; toss brioche to coat, then press down lightly to partially submerge. Let sit 20 minutes to give brioche time to soak up custard.
Bake bread pudding until golden brown and custard is puffed and just set (it should barely jiggle when gently shaken), 35–40 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, heat ice cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and just warmed through (do not simmer), 5–8 minutes. Transfer crème anglaise to a small pitcher or bowl.
Dust bread pudding with powdered sugar, then cut into squares and divide among plates. Drizzle crème anglaise over and arrange lychees around if desired. Serve remaining crème anglaise alongside.