Tea and scones go together like milk and cookies. One is just simply more enjoyable in the company of the other. Taking it one step further, I decided to meld the two together by flavoring my favorite scone recipe with tea. Masala chai tea offers the perfect balance of aromatic spices that can be imparted to dough through a cold infusion technique. With notes of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper, there is absolutely no need to open the spice cabinet or fiddle with many measuring spoons for this recipe. Those holiday flavors you are trending toward this cool weather season are available, conveniently packaged in an environmentally friendly canister, in Organic Masala Chai Black Tea from Arbor Teas. While the ingredients come together quickly, you will need to plan ahead to let the cream steep. The longer the tea infuses the more pronounced the masala chai spices will be. Butter and cream make these scones rich and moist, while cake flour lends a tender, crumbly texture. Hope you enjoy this Cooking with Tea Recipe from the Kitchen of Olivia!
Archive for the 'Cooking with Tea' Category
With immense pleasure we at Arbor Teas would like to introduce you to Nancy Biehn, Chief Executive Chocolatier of Sweet Gem Confections, an artisan chocolate shop located right here in our hometown, Ann Arbor, MI. Over the past few months a sweet collaboration has been forming between Nancy and us—we’ve teamed up to bring you handcrafted, organic tea-infused truffles!
Simply delighted to be a part of this exciting project, I dropped in on Nancy one evening to observe her master craftsmanship firsthand. The display of chocolate mastery I witnessed was nothing short of amazing! She was making a white chocolate, masala chai tea ganache that, when cooled, would be rolled into orbs and dipped in white chocolate. Without missing a beat while attending to all the stirring, cooling and additional stirring that the ganache required, Nancy poured perfectly tempered milk chocolate into shell-shaped molds, turning out the excess onto her parchment-covered workbench in a spectacle that can aptly be described as a chocolate “rain shower.” These shells will eventually enclose earl grey black tea-infused milk chocolate ganache. While those were cooling, she painted a shimmery campfire motif on the tops of a batch of 65% cacao dark chocolate Laspang Souchong truffles. Talk about a multi-tasker!
Have you ever wanted to capture the smoky fragrance of Lapsang Souchong black tea into something edible? Here is a delicious way to try it in an appetizer inspired by a recipe from Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Cooking. Lapsang Souchong has a heady campfire aroma and provides an easy way to impart a wonderful smoked flavor to foods without having to go through all the hassle of actually firing up the smoker yourself. Here I use it to season a sauté of shiitake mushrooms and a bit of pulled pork packaged neatly in a spring roll wrapper. Feel free to substitute fillings with cooked shrimp or scallops or even tofu to name a few ideas. In place of Arbor Teas’ organic Lapsang Souchong, you may also want to try their organic Russian Caravan Black Tea. A blend of Chinese Keemun and Lapsang Souchong, it will have a less potent smoke factor.
For the dipping sauce I created a rich plum butter flavored with an organic black tea mixed with bits of real vanilla bean pods (check out the recipe here). Please don’t be daunted by the recipe if making jam isn’t your thing. It’s only meant to inspire. Purchase your favorite jam, chutney or marmalade; the results will be equally good.
Living in Michigan, I am fortunate to have in my community great local farms and orchards that grow a wide variety of berries and other fruits. Compared to our long, cold winters, however, the growing season always seems so short. For this reason, the greater part of my summer was spent making various jams, fruit butters, chutneys, and sauces as each new fruit came into season. This is my effort to preserve the bountiful harvest in anticipation of the winter to come. Popping open a fresh jar on a gray winter’s morning to spread on toast or spoon into oatmeal should do just the trick to brighten anyone’s spirits, encouraging fond memories of summer past.
Beyond the typical uses, though, jams or preserves or butters (or whatever you might have) can make a solid basis for a vibrant basting or dipping sauce – just add a little vinegar to temper the sweet or add chilies for heat and you are on your way to creating more excitement in your meal. In yet an entirely different direction, often I like to tuck dollops of jam into baked treats for use as pastry fillings. All this is to say that a lot of potential is sealed away in those little glass jars!
Perusing Arbor Teas’ extensive line of fair trade, organic loose teas, I came across their organic vanilla bean black tea. This tea is unique in that it is blended with large bits of organic vanilla pods. If you’ve ever purchased a vanilla pod (or even just enjoyed the flavor of genuine vanilla beans), you will understand the decadence of this addition. Immediately it struck me as a perfect match for the beautiful Sweet Vision plums I’d purchased from the farmer’s market to make plum butter. The organic black tea adds a welcome astringency to the tart-sweet plums and the sensual hint of vanilla does not go unnoticed.
It’s not uncommon for folks who are passionate about tea to have other culinary interests, and quite often foodies such as ourselves delight in finding new and interesting ways to merge their various food passions. Well, our latest passion is chocolate, and we figured it might be worth sharing some thoughts on the subject of tea and chocolate pairing.
Successful combinations of tea and chocolate can be achieved in a variety of ways. You can look for tea/chocolate pairings that share similar flavor characteristics, thereby enhancing one another. Conversely, you can also find very satisfying combinations where the flavors of the tea and chocolate contrast – these are sometimes the biggest hits. Lastly, look for tea/chocolate pairings where the characteristics of each aren’t necessarily the same, but are compatible or complimentary in some fashion. Along these lines, we offer a few ideas for you to try, but by no means is this list exhaustive – let your palate, your creativity and your sense of adventure be your guide!
In the celebratory spirit of this inaugural “cooking with tea” post, and the joy brought through collaboration among friends, let’s have organic matcha tea cakes and ice cream! Matcha, traditionally consumed during the Japanese tea ceremony, has a thick, rich green taste with a discernable bitter quality. Its flavor is strong enough to be retained when combined with butter, eggs, milk and sugar in this delectably moist cake. Plus, the green powder lends such a lovely vibrant-hued crumb with an ever so slightly grainy texture. On a whim (and with a nod to the end of the summer season), I paired this cake with sweet corn ice cream, which is NOT for the faint of vegetables! Lavender, agave, honey, buttermilk or tea-infused ice creams or gelatos (perhaps a future post) would all be wonderful substitutions. The cake is topped with an organic kukicha green tea-infused whipped cream. One of my favorite Arbor Teas, kukicha is made of a gorgeous variegated combination of leaves and stems, which yield a delicate green tea flavor. It imparted just the subtle flavor I was after for this whipped cream so as not to compete with the matcha cake.
We at Arbor Teas want to inspire you to think outside the pot. Yes, a perfectly steeped cup of tea holds much tradition and most definitely nourishes the body and mind, but there are many more ways – both savory and sweet – to use these fragrant leaves. Think saturating as an infusion into milk or cream, stocks or sauces, crushing to form a substantial base for a dry rub, or heating directly in the frying pan as you would to coax the intensity from any spice layered into a stir-fried-type dish. The possibilities are endless, invite much creativity and encourage playfulness.
But first, an introduction is in order. I’m Olivia, an avid baker and home cook who occasionally blogs about my kitchen exploits. I must disclose I have no formal culinary training, although ironically I have a background in gustatory science. I also have an immense passion for food and very encouraging (and happily satiated) family and friends. Two of which, Jeremy and Aubrey of Arbor Teas, have asked me to share with you recipes that use their organic loose leaf teas. I hope you enjoy!