october: lisa’s earl grey creme caramel

Not being a coffee drinker myself (I have never touched the stuff) I love experimenting with tea in my cooking. Green tea, Thai tea and Jasmine tea are my favourites. I’ve recently got into black tea infused with lemon after buying some when I was in London earlier in the year. But one tea that I’ve not really drunk is Earl Grey tea.

I was asked a few months back to create some Earl Grey cupcakes, and that was the first time that I had used or even bought Earl Grey tea. I was drawn to distinct fragrance of the tea, with a hint of bergamot, which created a bold yet refreshing flavour.

So I thought that I would try using some of the leftover tea bags from the packet I bought to put a twist on another classic dessert, the creme caramel.

Actually, my original plan was to make a creme brulee. However although I do own a kitchen blowtorch, I didn’t have any gas to put in it. So the next best thing was to turn it upside down and create a creme caramel.

The creaminess of the custard and slight bitterness of the toffee blends perfectly with this tea. The texture is smooth, and coats your tongue with a delicious cocktail of flavour. I do hope some of you give this Earl Grey Creme Caramel a try. Preparation and cooking time is minimal, making this a great dessert for a dinner party. It can also be made a one large portion or set into individual portions. Enjoy!


october: kerri’s darjeeling brulee tart

I love tea. My favourite tea was introduced to me many years ago through a gift from a friend. Inside contained what has become my favourite tea brand and tea variety of all time. Mariage Fréres’ Marco Polo. It also introduced me to the concept of eating tea – it contained a tea conserve and tea sablés. Yum.

A recent trip to London also saw us take a quick overnight trip to Paris. Why? So I could immerse myself in the Mariage Fréres tea experience – not only the amazing stores, but the Thé Salons as well. Here you not only get overwhelmed with the 400+ varieties of tea on offer, you can also eat light meals too, all incorporating tea. The best part? Their tea desserts! So when Lisa announced the theme was tea, I knew where I was going to get my inspiration from!

And so it was. I had the most amazing Darjeeling Tart – it’s hard to describe it in any other word than perfect. With just the right sweetness, the distinguished flavour of darjeeling was on show. I could even say that it topped most chocolate desserts I’ve had – now that’s saying something!

With each bite, I tried to work out how to make it, taking mental notes to experiment with when I got back home. Luckily for me though, I found the recipe in the store!

I decided to use my tried and tested tart base – one that lends itself to both light and rich tart fillings. It’s a great recipe to keep up your sleeve.
I smoothed the filling before chilling, giving me the most options for decorating. I still hadn’t decided!
I wanted to keep the tart simple to showcase the darjeeling. In the end, I decided to brulee the top – to add to the texture and because everyone loves a sugar crust. But I made it quite light so it didn’t add too much sweetness.

I think my guests loved it as much as I did in Paris! It was a perfect end to the meal – and as comforting as a hot cup of tea. Ah.
You can find the recipe here.

october: anna’s arnold palmer cakes

I’m back home safe after having to evacuate my apartment for the last two days due to Hurricane Sandy! Just in time to post my October entry! The evacuation order was pretty last minute (we heard about it in the morning and had to leave that evening) so it threw off my weekend baking plan! I was intending to make souffle, but when we found out about the evacuation, I needed to make something that would last during the hurricane! Along with a few others, I moved to a friend’s place a few streets away. There were seven of us camped out waiting for the hurricane to pass. We had the pantry well stocked and since we are all foodies and home cooks, we ate incredibly well! Over the couple of days, we feasted on homemade pizza, steak, kimchi jigae, several different types of noodles and smoked salmon bagels, while watching movies and updates on the hurricane! Thankfully, we weren’t badly affected.

Arnold Palmer is another item to add to the list of things I’d never heard of before moving to the U.S. It’s a drink made of 1/2 iced tea and 1/2 lemonade (and for you Aussies, by lemonade I mean traditional / homemade lemonade, not Sprite)! It’s a really nice, refreshing drink on a hot day! I decided to use this as the basis of my October tea dish. The original plan was to make lemon souffle with sweet tea caramel sauce, but I ended up making little lemon cakes topped with tea frosting. Luckily, I only needed to buy a few ingredients, which I could get from the local corner store. The supermarkets were crazy with people stocking up on supplies and I wasn’t keen to join in the shopping frenzy. The interesting thing about this recipe is that it uses club soda, which gives the cakes a really great crumby texture, but they are still light at the same time! I’ve never seen it as an ingredient in a cake before but it’s definitely something I would use again! Enjoy these cakes during a hurricane, or just with a cup of tea!Find the recipe here

october: y’s green tea ice cream

As a kid I absolutely loved going on regular family trips to the local park. Not just for the monkey bars that were tantalisingly out of reach for junior-monkey arms, or the dangerous and slightly exhilarating seesaws. Not even to feed the ducks, although I enjoyed all of those things very much. Instead, what I most looked forward to was our encounter with the mini ice-cream van. Well, I called it a van but really it was a dude with a freezer unit attached to his motorcycle. He would make rounds of the park, stopping intermittently in crowded spots, and these stubby legs of mine could not walk fast enough to locate the van. That’s how much I loved ice-cream. Still do.

So green tea ice-cream was the first thing that came to mind when the theme for October was announced. Despite having eaten lots of green tea ice-cream before, I’ve never made it, so it is with many thanks to the BSS posse of bloggers that I’ve finally had the inspiration and motivation to make some.

Tea has been a favourite beverage ever since those tiny cups of Ti Kuan Yin sipped daintily over a dim sum lunch. However age has cursed me with an intolerance for black teas so these days I stick to green tea or herbal brews. This recipe is based on the Philadelphia-style method of making ice-cream, which handily dispenses with the need for egg yolks or any sort of fussy custard production. Just perfect for hot weather days.

You can find the recipe here.


From BSS:
A huge thank you to Y for being our first guest baker! Her ice cream looks delicious and we’ll be making it ourselves! See her other amazing creations on lemonpi – they will definitely inspire you.

october: tea!

October brings a new theme as well as a special guest baker in Jasmine’s absence! We’re excited to welcome Y of the popular baking blog lemonpi! A journal of her kitchen adventures, we guarantee you’ll be there for hours salivating over her creations :) We can’t wait to see what she creates for BSS this month!

And what theme did Lisa choose for us this month? Hint: we usually have it with biscuits or cake, or to relax at the end of a long day. That’s right – tea!

With endless varieties out there, see which ones we’ll each be using this month in our sweet treats. Tea for dessert? Yes, please!