3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
8 cloves, whole
1- inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
6 black English Breakfast Tea Bags
6 black peppercorns, whole
Add the milk to a heavy bottom, medium saucepan. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar, salt, vanilla bean (seeds scraped), cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, ginger, star anise, peppercorns and tea bags to the milk. Warm over medium heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Do not boil. Once it reaches 170 degrees, cover and remove from the heat. Steep for 30 minutes.
While the tea and milk are steeping, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the 5 egg yolks until the mixture is pale and slightly thickened. Set aside.
Place a large glass or metal pan inside another larger bowl filled with ice. Add the heavy (or whipping) cream to the bowl set in the ice bath. Place a fine mesh sieve over the cream and set aside.
After the tea and milk mixture has steeped for 30 minutes, strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the whole spices and tea bags. Gently press the tea bags to release any milk trapped inside. Discard the pods and tea bags. Pour the Chai flavored milk back into the sauce pan and heat on medium to 170 degrees.
Temper the eggs by slowly drizzling a little hot Chai milk into the eggs while whisking. I like to add one small ladle full of hot milk at a time making sure to whisk constantly until adding the next spoonful. By slowly increasing the temperature of the eggs you can prevent them from scrambling while cooking them to a safe temperature.
Once half the hot Chai milk has been added to the eggs, pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining Chai milk in the saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture reaches 185 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from the heat and if the mixture is not smooth, emulsify with an immersion blender. Pour the hot Chai/egg mixture through the fine-mesh sieve into the cream set over the ice bath. Stir occasionally while cooling, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Process according to the manufacturers' directions for your ice cream maker. Freeze the finished gelato for several hours before serving.