Diwali sees a huge number of people making a beeline for shops selling clothes or getting busy cleaning houses or buying firecrackers.
But as any Indian would know, no festival in the country is complete without the quintessential mithai. Much as the festival soothes our soul, the dessert, sweetens our palate and is an integral part of our culture.
That, and our love for the chai (tea) of course.
Keeping that thought in mind, Tea Culture of the world, that curates some of the choicest tea blends there is wanted to amalgamate an Indian sould’s love for chai and mithai and in the process, came up with something exquisite.
We give the recipes of a few different desserts made out of tea blends that they have shared.
These include the Mango -Peach Oolong Granita(A desert made out of loose leaf Chinese or Formosa oolong tea leaves); Jasmine tea Phirni (Beverage which is made out of loose leaf jasmine tea leaves) and the Spiced gingerbread cake (Made from apple cinnamon or spicy mandarin tea).
Mango – Peach Oolong Granita (serves 8)
Granita is the original Italian ice. Because it is frozen without an ice-cream maker, the result is granular rather than smooth, making it incredibly refreshing- the flavours just burst on your tongue. Alternatively, if you have an ice-cream maker, you can use this recipe to make a sorbet.
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups (600 millilitres) water, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup (10 grams) loose leaf Chinese or Formosa oolong tea leaves
- 5 ¼ pounds (2.4 kilograms) ripe peaches
- 2 ripe mangoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- Dash fine sea salt
- Mint leaves for garnish
Combine the sugar with 1 cup (240 millilitres) of the water and ½ teaspoon of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the liquid is clear and slightly thickened. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and let cool.
Place the tea leaves in a large bowl. Bring the remaining 1 ½ cup (360 millilitres) water to a boil and pour over the tea. Let steep, covered, for 3 ½ minutes; strain and let cool. Discard the leaves.
Reserve 1 peach to use for garnishing. Peel, pit, and slice the remaining peaches and the mangoes. Puree them in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the puree to the bowl of cooled tea with the cooled simple syrup, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ginger, and salt. Stir until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a shallow glass or metal baking or roasting pan. Place in the freezer. Stir briefly every 30 minutes or so with a fork or whisk, pulling the frozen bits away from the edges into the centre. Repeat until frozen into granular mass, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. If wrapped well, at this point the granita will hold for several days.
Serve by scraping the granita out of the pan with a large spoon or scoop. Serve in martini glasses or small bowls. Peel, pit and slice the remaining peach and garnish with the peach slices and mint leaves.
Jasmine tea Phirni (serves 8)
- 8 ½ (2.1 litres) whole milk, divided
- ¼ cup (55 grams) white basmati rice
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons loose leaf jasmine tea leaves
- 2 ½ ounces (70 grams) cashew nut meal
- Pinch saffron
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (optional)
Soak the rice in 2 cups (480 millilitres) of the milk for 4 hours, then place in a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to large saucepan, add the remaining 6 ½ cups (1.5 litres) milk and sugar and heat over medium heat until it reached a simmer.
Place the tea leaves in a tea sack or oversized tea ball, or wrap loosely and tie in a piece of cheesecloth, making sure that the leaves have plenty of expansion room, and place in the simmering rice-milk mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and steep the tea in the simmering mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, then remove the tea sachet and discard. Continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces by at least a third and starts to thicken. This can take quite a while, well over an hour. Add the cashew meal and saffron. Continue to stir until the mixture coats the spoon and holds a line drawn with your finger. Remove from heat and stir in the condensed milk, if using. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until chilled. The end result will have a thick, pudding-like texture.
To serve, ladle chilled phirni into individual small bowls and top with diced mangoes or other fresh fruits.
Spiced Gingerbread Cake
Makes one 10-inch/26-cm bundt cake
Gingerbread is a traditional holiday favourite. Sweet lovers of all age will love this.
- Tea culture of the world’s Apple cinnamon or spicy mandarin – ¼ C (120 g)
- Unsalted butter – 8 tbsp (120 g)
- Firmly packed dark brown sugar, dark molasses, and corn syrup – ½ C each (120 g each)
- All-purpose flour – 2 ½ C (65 g)
- Ground ginger and ground cinnamon – 1 ½ tsp each (3 g each)
- Ground cloves and ground nutmeg – ½ tsp (3 g each)
- Salt – ¼ tsp (1 g)
- Large eggs – 2
- Grated zest of lemon – 1
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp (15 ml)
- Baking soda – 2 tsp (10 g)
- Confectioners’ sugar – 4 c (500 g)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 10 x 3 ½ inch (25 x 9 cm) bundt pan.
Bring 1 ½ cups (350 ml) of water to a boil, remove from the heat, add the tea, and steep for 5 minutes; strain, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible.
Melt the butter; stir it together with the brown sugar, molasses, and corn syrup until blended. Set aside to cool.
Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl in a food processor and pulse to blend. Scrape in the butter-sugar mixture and blend. Add the eggs and lemon zest and process until smooth.
Stir the baking soda into cup (240 ml) of the tea. It will bubble up. Stir the mixture into the batter, mixing well; then scrape it into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is springy and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the pan and cool on a cake rack.
Combine the remaining tea with the lemon juice. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar, whisking until you have a thick but spreadable icing. Pour over the cooled cake and let it set....