Eat the tea!

Alisha Shinde
Friday, 15 December 2017

Drinking tea is cool but having chai in desserts is even cooler. On International Tea Day, we bring to you a variety of tea-infused desserts that you could try.

Who does not enjoy a steaming cup of tea on a winter morning? But have you ever wondered what this comforting drink will taste like when blended with desserts? On International Tea Day (celebrated since 2005 in tea-producing countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India and Tanzania), we explore the ‘punch’ that tea can give to desserts. 

This versatile drink can be paired with a wide variety of foods, right from exotic and spicy Asian cuisine, to the humble, delicious chocolate. Tea  has a plethora of health benefits as well. Matcha, a green tea from Japan, is rich in antioxidants and can enhance the flavour when added to desserts of any kind. 

Talking about the versatility of tea, Anish Deshmukh, head chef, Tea Trails, says Lapsang Souchong — a Chinese smoky black tea is the perfect ingredient to add a finishing touch to a sweet chocolate cake. Some teas are herbal, some sweet and some smoky, which give the desserts unique flavours. 

“Teas are essentially no different than spices, they’re dried and have concentrated bits of flavours that add a really unexpected and interesting note to any of the baked goodies,” Paul Kinny, chef and culinary director, Bellona Hospitality (212 All Day Cafe & Bar, Shizusan and Bar Bar). 

Not all teas go well with chocolate. “But a few like green tea, lemon tea, herb-infused tea and Masala tea go much better with chocolate,” says Samarth Saxena, sous chef, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune — Chinchwad. He further mentions that you can make a dessert better by merely using concentrated solutions of tea powder as well as dried tea leaves. Desserts like Mousse, Souffles, Dry Cakes, Macarons and Pastries get a striking flavour when infused with tea.  

Nowadays, people of all age groups love to experiment with food and try out trends. For example, Earl Grey Black Tea, which has a distinct citrus flavour strong enough to cleanse the palate and cut through the sharpness of citrus cakes and bring out the sweetness, is quite popular. 

Apart from the comfort drink that takes away the stress, you can try out tea-infused desserts this winter. White Chocolate Mousse-infused with Lemon Tea, Vanilla Chocolate Chai Brûlée, Green Tea Cheesecake, Jasmine and White Chocolate Cookies, Earl Grey Pot de Crème and Masala Tea Panna Cotta are a few heavenly desserts that will take your love for chai to a whole new level. But there’s nothing wrong in getting high on tea. Right?

Green Tea Cheesecake 
Ingredients
•        Philadelphia cheese...    850 gm 
•        Sugar...    325 gm
•        Eggs...    4
•        Amul cream...    125 gm
•        Green tea powder...    50 gm

Method
•    Beat the cheese and sugar together in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the eggs one by one.
•    Once the egg is completely mixed with the cheese and sugar, add and fold the green tea powder in the mixture.
•    Add the liquid cream to the mixture. 
•    Prepare the mould to bake the cheesecake, by adding a layer of biscuit crumbs at the bottom followed by pouring the mixture in the mould.
•    Bake at 140 degree Celsius for about 40 minutes. 
    (Recipe by Samarth Saxena, sous chef, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune —  Chinchwad)

Asian Tiramisu 
Ingredients
•        Mascarpone cheese...    40 gm
•        Whipped cream...    30 gm
•        Icing sugar...    10 gm
•        Dark Rum...    5 ml
•        Green tea bag...     1
•        Matcha powder...    1 gm (soaked in 100 ml water)
•        Chocolate sponge...     50gm (cut in two layers)

Method
•        Mix Mascarpone cheese and icing sugar in a bowl. Add whipped cream and mix well.
•        Add rum and Matcha powder to the mixture and keep it aside in a chiller.
•        In a cake mould, take one slice of sponge cake and soak with green tea water.
•        Add chilled mixture on the first layer, then add the second sponge and the remaining mixture. Line it out in a freezer for a day.
•        Once the Tiramisu is set, remove and serve chilled. 
        (Recipe by Paul Kinny, chef and culinary director, Bellona Hospitality) 

MatchA Affogato 
Ingredients
•    Matcha Green Tea...    50 ml
•    Vanilla ice cream as required

Method
•    Prepare the Matcha Green Tea, make it slightly strong to get a nice intense flavour. To make the thick Matcha tea for the Affogato, whisk 3 tsp of Matcha in 50ml of water.
•    Scoop some vanilla ice cream into a bowl and pour the Matcha tea and it is ready to eat. 
    (Recipe by Anish Deshmukh, head chef, Tea Trails)

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