This rich and creamy custard is redolent with exotic spices and a delicious ending to dinner.
1 quart half and half
2 rounded tablespoons Malabar Chai spice mix
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Combine half and half and chai spices in medium saucepan. Bring almost to boil. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 15 minutes to develop flavor. Strain mixture using fine mesh strainer.
Whisk eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla extract together. Slowly add the half and half mixture to the egg mixture, taking care to temper the egg mixture before adding all the half and half mixture. Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer and discard any solids left in strainer. Pour into 8 custard cups. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.
Place cups in baking pan and pour enough hot water into pan to come up half way up the sides of custard cups. Bake at 325°F for 45-50 minutes. Remove from water and cool on rack. Refrigerate until cold, about 6 hours.
If desired, serve with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream and a light dusting of freshly ground cardamom.