Hojicha Tea Poached Pear
With fresh juicy pears in season right now it is hard to pass up the opportunity to make the classic poached pear dessert with tea. For this recipe we used the green tea Hojicha from Japan to infuse the poaching liquid. The Hojicha adds a beautiful nuttiness and depth to dish. You can feel free to try this dish with any of your favorite teas.
A few items to consider before taking on this dish. It does take time to poach pears and make the syrup and allow them to cool, roughly two and half hours, so making this while preparing dinner is not really an option. The pears keep well in the refrigerator, so you can definitely make them in advance, even the day before. When buying pears, you are looking for pears with stems to make it easy for you to move them in and out of the water. If that is not possible, you can quarter the pears and use a slotted spoon instead of serving whole. Ideally you would use ripe pears, where if you press along the neck of the pear it gives under pressure. If you cannot find them, don’t worry, you will need to poach longer in the liquid.
Tea Poached Pears – Equipment
6 cup pan with lid
Grapefruit spoon or corer
Tongs or slotted spoon
Container to hold the pears in the refrigerator
Kettle to heat water
Pyrex or pitcher/teapot to brew tea in
Tea Poached Pears – Ingredients
6 Pears with stems
4 cups of water
1/4 cup of Hojicha tea
1 cup of sugar
Tea Poached Pears – Steps
- Peel and core the pears. Start by coring the pears from the bottom so as to keep the stem in place. Using a grapefruit spoon or corer, work around the notch at the bottom into the pear with the goal of removing the seeds and hard center. It will create a hole in the pear, which helps to speed along the poaching. After coring, peel the skin off the pears and place into your pan.
- Heat up 4 cups of water to 185°F and put in the tea. Steep for 3 minutes. Strain out the loose leaf tea and pour the remaining liquid into the pot with the pears.
- Turn on the burner to about medium. The tea is already hot, so you can pour in the sugar while it comes up to a simmer.
- Allow the pears to simmer in the tea for at least 20 minutes, but more likely 40 minutes if the pears are not fully ripe. You can use your knife to test if they are done. The knife should insert very easily.
- Remove the pears from the liquid using tongs by lifting them out by the stem and put in the refrigerator to cool. Leave the sauce in the pan and turn the burner up to high to get the sauce to a rolling boiling. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until it reduces to a syrup that coats the back of your spoon when you lift it out. This will take around 30-minutes so be patient and stir periodically to check. Remove from heat and store in the refrigerator.
- Poached pears are traditionally served cold on a plate by placing the full pear in the center, drizzling on the syrup, and allowing guests to add whipped cream if want it.
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Tea Infused Scones with Jam
Tea infused scones are a fun and easy addition to your afternoon tea. This is an easy way to serve something traditional but to put your own spin on it. The recipe below is a British scone recipe, not an American recipe. The difference between the two is very striking. British scones are built to add condiments like butter, clotted cream, and jam. So they do not have sugar in them and a much smaller amount of butter. American scones are built to be eaten as is and so they have sugar and more butter than British scones. The British scone recipe also lends itself to the creation of a savory scone that includes cheese and garlic, which I have given directions on how to add at the bottom.
Scones are best prepared just before you want to eat them as they are meant to be eaten right out of the oven. If you must make them in advance, you should reheat them before serving. I have made a few notes below on which ingredients you can prepare in advance so your scones come together quickly when you want them.
Tea Infused Scones : Ingredients
4 tablespoons of Summer on Cape Cod tisane
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of dried cranberries, raisins or currants (you can used any dried fruit, just cut them to the size of raisins)
3 1/3 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (You can replace about 1/2 of this with vegetable shortening if you wish)
1 beaten egg with a tablespoon of water
Flour for rolling pin and service
For savory scones, substitute the dried fruit with a 1/3 cup of sharp cheddar cheese.
Tea Infused Scones: Steps
Tea Infused Scone – British Style Scones
This step can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to make scones. Put the milk and 3 tablespoons of the tea on the stove top and bring the milk up to just below boiling. Remove from heat and allow the milk to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and return to the refrigerator to cool down. You can also prepare tea infused butter to use in this recipe.
- Set your oven to 425°F. Pull out a baking sheet and make sure it is lightly greased or line with a piece of parchment paper that is lightly greased.
- Bring the 1/2 cup of water to a boil and put in 1 tablespoon of Summer on Cape Cod tisane and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and allow the 1/3 cup of cranberries to soak in the liquid while you are preparing the dough.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar.
- Cut the 6 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and by hand pinch them into the flour. Keep doing this until all the flour looks a little shiny. It may seem that there is not enough butter to cover everything. However there is, so keep working until all the flour is coated. It will look like wet sand when you are done.
- Pour in 1 1/3 cups of the tea infused milk all at once and stir briefly. You are looking for everything to stick together. Do not stir a lot as you will lose the bubbles caused by the baking soda and cream of tartar. It should create a sticky dough.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough to 1 inch thick. This will not take long if everything is properly floured.
- Flour a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. If you do not have one, measure the diameter of a drink glass made of glass and flour the rim of the glass to use as a cutter. You should be able to stamp out 10 scones before re-rolling to get the last couple. You should get between 10-12 scones.
- Place the scones on the baking sheet and brush the top of the scones with the egg wash. This ensures that golden brown color.
- Bake the scones for 10 minutes in the oven. Pull them out and serve. Our clotted cream recipe is a great addition.
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Rose Tea Cupcakes with Jasmine Frosting
Rose Tea Cupcakes are a unique treat for your tea loving Valentine. These cupcakes can be made in advance and keep well in the refrigerator for about 5 days, if they last that long. While this cupcake recipe uses The Rose Garden tea, it can be made with your favor tea. The trick is to infuse both the butter and milk before making the cupcakes, which we will outline below.
Rose Tea Cupcakes-Ingredients
2 tablespoons of The Rose Garden tea
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of whole milk
3/4 cup of white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (Omit at your own risk, your cupcakes may not be as fluffy as you would like without this)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup of All purpose flour (keep around a couple of tablespoons of flour in case you need to add more to the batter)
Jasmine Green Tea Frosting-Ingredients
2 tablespoons of Jasmine Green Tea
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup of whole milk
4 oz (1/2 block) of cream cheese
3 cups of confectioners sugar
Making Tea Infused Butter
Prepping Tea Infused Butter
We have made tea infused butter before. For the cupcakes and icing, you will make 2 separate batches of infused butter. With each one you will need 1 stick of butter and 3 grams of tea (or a rounded tablespoon).
For the cupcake batter, melt one stick of butter with 1 rounded tablespoon of The Rose Garden Tea. This should be done on the cook top and not in the microwave. Put both the tea and butter into the pot. Once the butter melts completely, remove from the burner and allow the tea to steep for another 10 minutes. Strain off the tea and allow the butter to cool. Feel free to use a spoon to press on the tea to squeeze out the butter that it absorbed. Make sure the butter is solid before adding it to the recipe for the cupcake. It will return to a solid state much faster if you put it in the refrigerator. I found it is easier to make the butter a day or two before the cupcakes so I am not tempted to use the liquid butter.
Repeat the same steps as above for the butter for the Jasmine icing. Just use a rounded tablespoon of Jasmine Green tea instead of the The Rose Garden tea. This butter also needs to be solid, but at room temperature for the icing to work correctly.
Making Tea Infused Milk
Rose Infused Milk
Just like the butter, we are going to heat the amount of milk shown above with a rounded tablespoon of the associated tea on the stove top. Do not walk away from the milk as it is heating as you do not want it to come to a boil. You are looking for steam to rise and a few small bubbles along the edges of the milk and you should start to smell the tea. Feel free to stir and make sure the tea leaves don’t just float on the top. As soon as the steam remains as you stir, pull the milk off the burner and allow the tea to steep in the milk for 10 minutes before straining. Again, feel free to use a spoon to press the tea against the strainer to squeeze out the milk it absorbed. The 1/2 cup of milk for the cupcakes will become roughly a 1/3 cup and the 1/3 cup for the icing will become a 1/4 cup. This is fine. Make sure the milk cools to at least room temperature before using in the recipe. It is fine to make this a day or two before making the ice cream, just store in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.
Making Rose Tea Cupcakes
- Make sure you have made the tea infused butter and milk and they have cooled before doing anything else.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and line your cupcake/muffin tray with paper liners for the cupcakes.
- Using an electric stand mixer, beat together the The Rose Garden tea infused butter with the sugar. It should be mixed until lite and fluffy, about 5 minutes. You should stop the mixer a few times during the process and scrap down the sides and bottom to make sure everything is mixed evenly.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
- On low, adding 1 egg at a time, mix in the eggs with the sugar and butter.
- Once all 3 eggs are mixed in, add the flour mixture and milk to the bowl, alternating about 1/3 of each at the time. Make sure each time that the ingredients are fully incorporated. Once down, take a look at the batter and pinch out a small amount. If is really shiny and feels oily, you will need to incorporate more flour. Using 1/2 tablespoon at a time, mix in the flour until the batter is shiny but doesn’t feel oily.
- Put the batter into the paper liners, filling them about 2/3 of the way full. Put them in the oven for 25 minutes. A tooth pick should pull out clean. Do not over cook. These cup cakes will be pale yellow to white in color, you do not want brown edges.
- Pull out the cupcakes and allow them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing them from the tin and placing them on the cooling rack to come to room temperature.
- Once the cupcakes are at room temperature, you may ice them.
Making Jasmine Green Tea Frosting
- Put the cream cheese and Jasmine Green Tea Infused butter into an electric mixer and blend until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes.
- Then mix in 1 1/2 cups of the confectioners sugar until fully incorporated.
- Next add the Jasmine Green Tea Infused milk Mix until combined, it will look runny.
- Last mix in the remaining 1 1/2 cup of the confectioners sugar. The icing should look thick and fluffy. It is a heavy frosting because of the cream cheese.
- Using an icing knife or a butter knife, apply the icing to the cooled cupcakes in a circular motion. Scoop out about 1 1/2 tablespoons of icing at a time to apply. If you icing starts to run on the top of the cupcake you did not let them cool enough. You can package up the icing and put it in the refrigerator and apply it within 2 days of making the cupcakes. It will start to get to hard after that ice cleanly for you.
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Fun Tea & Spooky Halloween Themed Cookies
These fun Halloween tea cookies use matcha to get their green color and can be shaped into all sorts of different shapes. This recipe makes around 36 cookies if done as a simple round cookie.
Halloween Tea Cookies – Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Matcha
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies
Halloween Tea Cookies – Instructions
- Cream together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add Egg and Matcha and mix until well-combined.
- Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
- Scrap dough out of the bowl and onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and put into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, 2-3 is better, to allow the butter to harden again. This will keep the cookies from spreading out as much.
- When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350º F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon full and roll into a ball. Place each ball of cookie dough into the bowl of granulated sugar and roll to coat well. Place cookie dough onto baking sheet, spacing about 1½-inches to 2 inches apart. Lightly press each cookie down. If decorating, you can put on your hard candies now on the top of the cookies and press in. If you put in the gummy candies now, they may slightly melt creating a cool melted colored sugar effect on the top. If it is important to keep them hole, wait until you pull the cookies to add them.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and decorate with the gummy candies while the cookies are still warm. Just lightly press the gummy candies into the cookies. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray before removing. Store the cookies in an air tight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
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Burmese Tea Leaf Salad – Plated for presentation but not yet mixed together.
So, if you are just joining us, you may want to read Part 1 of this blog post describing how to pickle your green tea leaves. For those of you who already read and now want to eat, we have a few more steps to finalize this salad. This salad is traditionally served with the tea leaves acting as the equivalent of lettuce, which I will prepare below. However, the pickled leaves remind me more of a dressing and do nicely as a garnish on romaine lettuce. So feel free to Americanize.
Ingredients (To serve 4)
Fried Rice Noodles (look in the Asian isle of the grocery store)
8 gloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
1 can of Lentils (color is your choice)
Oil for frying
2 whole Tomatoes
Paper towels and four plates. Cast iron frying pan or a pan with high sides to fry in. You will also need a ladle to pull out the lentils and a slotted spoon for the garlic.
Steps to Prepare the Other Ingredients
Start by gathering up all your ingredients as the frying times are going to be short and you cannot walk away from the pan. Setup the paper towels on two of the plates, double the paper towels on one of the plates for the lentils. This will give you a place to put the ingredients to cool before plating them with the tea leaves. Remove the skin and slice the garlic cloves. Cut the tomatoes into wedges to get you at least 4 wedges per serving. Empty the lentils out of the can into a strainer and rise under cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Put the pan on the stove top and allow to heat. Add the sesame seeds and allow to toast for no longer than about 1 minute. If they start to turn brown on you remove from the heat so they do not burn. Pour the sesame seeds out on one of the plates with no paper towels. Next, put the peanuts into the pan and toast them for about 2 minutes. You need to stir the peanuts to prevent burning. You will smell the peanuts, which is an indicator to remove from the heat as they will burn quickly after this point. Pour the peanuts out on a plate without the paper towels to cool. Now add oil to the pan, depending on your oil type it will ripple immediately and will not require any more time before putting in the garlic. The garlic will cause bubbling, so do be careful. You can lower the heat and stir the garlic with a slotted spoon. It will take the garlic about 5 minutes to start to turn brown. Once brown, remove from the oil and put on one of the plates with paper towels to remove the oil off the garlic. Next, put in the lentils, leave them in the oil until they are crunchy, which will take around 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring and you will feel as they dry out and harden. Remove them from the oil. Unfortunately, the lentils are so small they fall through the slots in the spoon. So you will need to remove them with a ladle.
Steps to Plate the Burmese Tea Leaf Salad
Measure out roughly 1/2 cup of the tea leaves into the middle of each of the 4 plates. Arrange the dry ingredients (rice noodles, fried lentils, sesame seeds & peanuts) in piles around the outside of the leaves and divide the piles with the tomato wedges. Sprinkle the garlic on the top of the tea leaves. It is up to the individual to decide how they would like to mix the ingredients together. Don’t skip the fried garlic and lentils as they add a wonderful textural contrast to the tea leaves.
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