The dessert genius Clement over at the most extraordinary and puristic “à la cuisine!” chose a truly elaborate theme for this month’s IMBB: tasteTEA it is! Wow, I couldn’t have been more exited! On second thought: I’m finding myself entangled in the dreadful, same old dilemma about what to do with the 1000 and more options that are spinning in my head…
We are tea-people. Well, since Harry opened up his little coffee shop gem in our immediate neighborhood, our coffee consumption went not quite through the roof but I’d say increased significantly (who could resist a Cortado based on authentic, single-growing area, single harvest Arabica beans). Nevertheless, we are indeed tea-people. Black tea, green tea, fruit tea, herb tea, any tea, you name it. In the midst of winter, I can drink chamomile tea like others drink water. To the extend that colleagues would sometimes make fun of my office space, rhetorically asking “is there a noticeable whiff of hospital smell” (German hospitals have the tendency to drown patients in chamomile tea). I only need to account for a balanced consumption of black/green tea and herb tea – otherwise I would probably be on a constant theine-high…
Our tea shop of choice in Munich (as mentioned earlier) is the Teahouse, which is said to have one of the largest selections in Germany. What got me hooked, is how they present their variety: Cute little metal tins with tea name stickers on them, so you can browse through (and literally stick your nose in!) hundreds of wonderful tea blends. Additionally, they always have one or two freshly brewed teas prepared, one is invited to try for free – always a great opportunity to discover something new at each visit.
On another note, one of my beloved passions – flea markets – perfectly supports our love for tea. Some of the nicest tea cups (true old-timers) have been discovered there and my collection of tea pots is continuously growing – Somehow I (aka the collector) sense though that a little discussion with O. (Mr. I – don’t – need – to – collect – everything) on slowing down my quirk a tiny bit is somewhat inevitable… :)
Chocolate Earl Grey Truffles
Although Matcha seems to be the tea these days, I opted for our all-time favorite – Earl Grey.
Combine cream and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add 3-4 teaspoons of Earl Grey tea leaves (or any favorite tea?) and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Chop dark chocolate into smaller pieces or use a grater (or food processor) and transfer it to a bowl. Strain cream through a sieve onto grated/finely chopped chocolate, discarding the tea leaves. Whisk until smooth. Cover ganache and chill for at least 4 hours or even over night (as I did).
Portion ganache teaspoon-wise, dust your palms with cocoa powder and roll each piece of the ganache into a ball. This was the fun part – and messy one, too! I used a good portion of cocoa powder, because it made the procedure much easier. Then drop several balls at a time into the bowl of cocoa and swivel to coat. Store at cool temperature.
I always thought that grinding chocolate in a food processor would end up in a gigantic mess, the more I was surprised how great it actually works, much much better than doing it manually with a grater.
Additionally, I used some special chocolate couverture (more on that is soon to come), but the truffles almost melted whenI tried to cover them with the molten chocolate. In a last attempt I rolled them in only a tiny amount, which I had dropped onto a plate, and turned them in cocoa afterwards. Those truffles got a nice irregular outfit, a little more work but rewarding in the end (image above). Because of the type of chocolate used, their taste definitely had to grow on me. In contrast to O. who fell for them from the get-go, my tastebuds intial signal was “this is bitter! – a lot“, what soon changed to a “ah, nice tea flavour, verrrrry nice texture…” Nibbling away my first truffle, I got used to the bitterness (I used bittersweet chocolate and no sugar, what had I expected?) and began to finally really enjoy it. Felt like a real grown-up treat, those with an acquired taste might travel miles for ;)
Earl Grey Gelato
A cream-free vanilla gelato had been on my list for ages now, hence I thought about giving the original recipe a little “correction” and swapped the vanilla for – again – Earl Grey tea. Which turned out so good, it made first place of our personal gelato-highlights this year – well, so far! Not too sweet, wonderful light consistency and most importantly, a very distinguished Earl Grey tea flavor.
Combine milk, sugar, Earl Grey tea and heat up over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is fully dissolved. Strain and discard the tea leaves.
Beat egg yolks until they take on a lighter color, about 3-4 minutes. Then add the hot (not boiling) milk to the yolks while continuously whisking. Put the mix back on the stove and slowly heat up (do not boil). Continue to stir until mix thickens and covers the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and allow to chill.
Let your ice cream machine take over…
Chocolate Earl Grey Truffles
Recipe source: Epicurious, adaptation
Required time: preparation 30 min., chilling at least 4 hours
Ingredients (yield: 30 truffles):
160ml heavy cream
2 tbsp butter (unsalted), softened
3-4 tsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
170g high-quality dark chocolate (70%)
1 cup of unsweetend cocoa powder, transferred to a bowl
Earl Grey Gelato
Recipe source: Adaptation of vanilla gelato, based on Rosemary Moon's "Eiscreme selbstgemacht" (p. 72)
Required time: preparation 15 min., chilling: 1 hour, ice-cream machine: ~45min.
Ingredients (serves 2-4):
600 ml milk
6 egg yolks
4-5 tsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
50-70 g sugar, up to the desired sweetness