It is fascinating how teas can impart surprising flavours in sweet and savoury dishes. Tea can easily be the star of a recipe or successfully raise other gustatory nuances to another level. As the abundance of ways to process Camellia sinensis has opened a world of distinct flavours, its various teas can provide manifold aromas in culinary applications.
This journal post is meant to be an inspiration for you to be playful and creative when comes to tea in your cooking. We thought of four easy methods to prepare tea four your culinary adventures.1. Infuse
As soon as a recipe calls for liquid ingredients, you can use this perfectly to sneak in an extra portion of tea. A cold brew not only works for your refreshing summer drink, but it also works great in a recipe, because almost any liquid can easily be infused with the rich aromas of tea. A basque style cheesecake for example is usually made with a big portion of cream, which acts as a great solvent when you plan on steeping some tea in it overnight.
For a subtle note, we suggest using the recommended ratio, as if brewing a normal cup of tea. If you seek an intense tea flavour, you can use double the amount of tea. How long the steeping will take, strongly depends on the tea, yet a time span of eight hours is a good spot for a lot of them. The delicate notes of White Tea will profit from a longer extraction time, whereas the deep flavours of Black Tea or the intense, verdant profiles of Green Tea will be possibly fine with just five hours.
If you use herbal teas, actual brewing is quite important to produce food that is safe to consume. Staying within the same context, you can simply simmer your herbals in the cream and let it cool down again if the recipe calls for it.
We paired our Golden Earl N°514 with a cheesecake recipe for this method. Its strong and aromatic notes of honey and bergamot provide depth and freshness for this creamy dessert. This quite easy recipe is definitely one to try: Golden Earl Basque Cheesecake.
2. SimmerIn a lot of meals, side dishes or other ingredients get cooked or simmered in water anyway, which is a great opportunity to season these with the flavours of tea. You can simply add the tea into the cooking liquid while simmering rice, beans or pasta all the way to al dente.
For savoury dishes, we strongly recommend trying our McKeag’s Lapsang N°520. This Suchoung Black tea easily transfers its delicious smokiness to the pasta used in our vegetarian interpretation of a classic carbonara. Have a closer look at our McKeag’s Carbonara.
A sugary syrup might be one the most convenient and easiest application to extract the gustatory complexity that teas can provide, not only for surprising beverages but any other sweet preparations and desserts.
For simple syrup, you usually combine equal amounts of sugar and water which will be brought to a boil, so that all sugar dissolves and the acquaint consistency is reached. Here you can easily add herbals into the water and brew them for a few minutes. After you strain the liquid, you would mix in the sugar and continue simmering. If using fine, more delicate teas, we recommend steeping these with the correct temperature and time. After discarding the tea leaves, you can mix in the sugar and bring everything up to a boil again. Alternatively, teas can also be cold steeped into ready-made sugar syrups for a couple of days. For a syrup made from 250ml water and 250g sugar, we suggest using four times the amount of tea recommended for brewing one cup.4. Powder
A very straightforward method to incorporate tea into your cooking is to pulverize it. You can use a spice or coffee grinder to create a very fine powder bursting with flavour. This can be directly added as an ingredient, no matter if it is baking, frying or boiling. As the tea is going to be extracted along the cooking time, the aromas have a lot of time to infuse the dish. Therefore you should start with smaller amounts of your homemade tea spice. A rough estimation is eight grams per hundred grams of fat used in a recipe. This can be the frying oil or the butter used in the batter.
This time we used our smoked tea for scones, inspired by bacon and onion tarts from Alsace region. As you will find in the recipe for our McKeag’s Scones a little of the powdered tea goes a long way. Intense teas like this are also great to be mixed with salts for extraordinary seasonings. Green Teas like our Maia’s Pick N°316 bring vegetal flavours and big umami energy to the table, while our fruity Red Hibiscus N°820 surprises with a good amount of tanginess. You can find the perfect ratios for these seasonings in P & T & Salt.
Powdered tea is also part of a lovely recipe shared by Michelle @thebakeanista, thanks again! For her fluffy Earl Grey Chiffon Cake we imagine our Brave New Earl N°711 working out just beautifully. You find the recipe for this amazing cake on Michelle’s website www.thebakeanista.com.
After all these recipes, we still have a few for you to discover if you haven’t already in the past, explore all recipes or pick one of these:
Photo Credit: @thebakeanista