Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yes Chef: Chocolate Masala Chai Wow!

As I continue on my journey to include tea as an ingredient in my cooking and baking, my latest experiment in the kitchen had me creating a decadent chocolate tart with Masala Chai. Oh my!

This recipe is just for the filling as I did not include any tea in the crust. So, you will need a baked 9” pie crust. Feel free to make your own dough or buy it from the supermarket. I made my own crust using paleo ingredients that included almond and tapioca flours. I made enough to cover a 9.5” tart pan with a removable bottom.

Crust is ready for dressing!


Ingredients:

  • 300 g milk chocolate
  • 200 g bittersweet chocolate
  • 115 ml 35% whipping cream
  • 115 ml almond milk
  • 2 tbps Masala Chai


Procedure:

  1. Pour whipping cream, almond milk, and chai, into a saucepan and heat at medium to high.
  2. Bring to a full boil, then set aside for about 30 minutes to an hour to continue infusing.
  3. Pour tea mixture through a sieve a couple of times to remove all large particles.
  4. Heat tea mixture again, bringing it back to a boil.
  5. Have both chocolates ready and chopped, sitting in a heatproof bowl.
  6. Once the tea mixture comes to a boil, pour over the chocolates in the bowl.
  7. Allow the chocolates to sit for a few minutes to melt, then whisk the mixture until smooth.
  8. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie shell and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours until it becomes firm.
  9. To serve, bring tart to room temperature, slice, and enjoy!

Is this good enough?


Maybe some white chocolate works?


Now, my biggest fault is always underestimating myself. I wasn’t sure if this is was a wow or a dud. I liked what I ate. It was chocolate heaven with a subtle hit of Masala Chai. The crust was nutty goodness. Total Zen! However, I wanted validation. I used my co-workers as the taste testing victims, requesting their honest opinion on my dessert. Every one of them loved it! I even tried steering them into some possible negative aspects of the tart, but was met with a head shaking telling me there was nothing to change. One of them actually wanted to buy a full tart from me. I was happy to hear all this, but I think I would still tweak a few things in the future. Nothing drastic though!


Try a slice!


Tips:

  • As already stated, feel free to buy a pie crust from the market if you do want to make you own. Tenderflake is pretty good.
  • To speed up the chocolate melting, you can heat it lightly over a double-boiler, and then pour the tea mixture over it to whisk until smooth.
  • Make your own Masala Chai. In the future, I’m going to try my own tea mixture rather than a ready made tea brand. This way, I control the amounts of each spice used.


Options:

  • Decorate your tart with berries, sprinkles, nuts etc… I drizzled some melted white chocolate on my tart after allowing it to sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  • Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped-cream and a dash of cinnamon for an extra hit of spice.
  • I used a combination of whipping cream and almond milk, but feel free to use just one type or a combination of other milks. Coconut would be great.




Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Cuppa: Hot Rooibos to the rescue!

With Spring arriving and Winter not wanting to go away, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for a few days now. The constant coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and throbbing head is no fun. Tea just tastes strange to me under these conditions. I normally head for a lemon and ginger blend tisane when I’m feeling this way, but this time, I was yearning for something more rich. A hot chocolate! So perfect on a rainy day too.

I decided to make a hot chocolate using Rooibos for flavouring. Along with a few other ingredients and about 15 minutes, I had a mug of yummy goodness to cozy up with!



Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping tbsp of Rooibos leaves
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Honey to taste


Preparation:

  1.  Place water and Rooibos leaves in a pot and bring to a medium boil.
  2.  Add almond milk to the pot and lower the heat to a simmer.
  3.  Stir in the cocoa powder with a whisk.
  4.  Drop in the honey to your desired level of sweetness. I just used 1 teaspoon.
  5.  Add the vanilla extract and remove the pot from further heating.
  6.  Allow to rest for a few minutes and let all the ingredients mingle with each other.
  7.  Pour through a sieve, into a mug and enjoy. Add a dollop of whipped-cream if you wish, as I did.

No whipped-cream!

This was heaven in a mug! Total chocolate comfort! The Rooibos went very well in this recipe. I actually used the Rooibos blend I prepared in my bonanza brew workshop. “Rock Me Rooibos” contained some peppermint in the mixture, and I could detect light notes of the flavour in my drink. It was really good. I’ve always liked the chocolate and mint combo.


With whipped-cream!


I’m not over my cold yet, but I do feel much after my Rooibos hot chocolate!


Options:

  1.  Use another milk such a coconut milk, or just plain milk if you prefer.
  2.  Try a plain Rooibos or some fancy mixture of your choosing.
  3.  Instead of honey, try maple syrup or some other sweetener.
  4.  Use a vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract. It does make a difference.
  5.  Sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate on your beverage, with or without whipped-cream.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tea Readings: My cup has overflowed!

Here is a beautiful poem that will lift your spirits.  I'm not a religious person at all, but I take everything into consideration. Life isn't so bad.  


Drinkin' from My Saucer

I've never made a fortune
And it's prob'ly too late now;
But I don't worry 'bout that much,
I'm happy anyhow!

And as I go along life's way
Reapin' better than I sowed.
I'm drinkin' from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed!

Haven't got a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going's tough;
But I've got loving ones around me,
And that makes me rich enough!

I thank God for His blessings
And the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinkin' from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed!

I 'member times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin;
But all at once the dark clouds broke
And light peeped through again.

So, Lord, help me not to gripe
About tough rows I've hoed.
I'm drinkin' from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed!

If God gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough,
I'll not ask for other blessings;
I'm already blessed enough!

May I never be too busy
To help others bear their loads.
I'll keep drinkin' from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed!

~ Jimmy Dean




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Teaology 101: Today’s post is brought to you by the letter 'L'!

Slowly but surely, we are getting through the entire alphabet of tea definitions. See all the previous definitions by clicking on their letters:

A      B      C      D      E      F      G     H      I     J     K



Lacking:  A neutral tea that is weak in flavour, character, and aroma.

Lady Londonderry:  This is a blend of tea consisting of black tea, and flavoured with strawberries and lemons.

Lapsang Souchong:  A fine, black tea from China known for its smoky flavour and aroma resulting from the leaves being fired over pinewood.

Leaf:  Refers to the actual whole tea leaves.

Leafy:  Refers to large leaf pieces.


Liquor:  This is the yield from the infused tea leaves in hot water.

Light:  Tea that is weak in flavour and colour.

Lot:  All teas belonging to a specific unit that is up for auction.

Low Grown:  Tea grown at an elevation between sea level and 600m.

LTP:  An acronym that stands for Lawrie Tea Processor. This is a machine used to cut tea leaves into smaller particles after they've gone through the drying process.

Luaka:  A delicate tea from the Luaka area in Sri Lanka.

Lung Ching:  Also known as Dragonwell, this is a Chinese green tea.  There are variations in the spelling of this tea.