Monday, November 15, 2010

This with That: Dessert with Tea, Part I

MARMALADE COOKIES, Muenster cheese, and fresh fruit--these are just a few of the things I have discovered pair perfectly with tea. Over the last year or so, Nicholas has inundated me with a data deluge of tea trivia. What I've taken away from talking about and drinking tea is that each person may experience something slightly different or perceive something that another may not--and that's totally okay!

In my mind, this makes pairing food with tea less of a science and more of an art form that is completely dependent on the taster's palate and the extent to which they are willing to experiment. Over the next few weeks I hope to share what I've found to be tasty tea and dessert couplings with you.

Apricot cookies with Oolong Tea

Apricot Cookie Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup baker's sugar
  • confectioners' sugar to dust cookies
  • grated zest of 1 medium-sized lemon, and a tablespoon of lemon juice to the apricot jam
  • apricot jam

  1. Mix dry ingredients except for sugar in a medium bowl (flour, salt, cornstarch) and mix wet ingredients separately (butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar). Refrigerate the dough for 45 minutes and roll out to 1/4" thick on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Freeze this for 10 minutes after placing on a baking sheet.
  2. Cut out cookies and bake for 9-10 minutes.
  3. After the cookies have cooled, spread a bit of apricot jam (feel free to add lemon juice) on a cookie and sandwich. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar on a cookie and eat!
Note: This recipe should make 18-20 cookies. The cookies themselves will not be very sweet, so you can add more sugar, but I like them to be relatively unsweetened; that way the jam packs more of a punch. You can also vary the amount of lemon juice you squeeze into the mix; I favor more lemon in the cookie and less lemon in the apricot jam.

And now onto one of my favorite types of tea! I have tried many types of Oolong tea and have found some commonalities as well as striking differences between the two. The Chinese oolongs taste very earthy and sweet to me, whereas Taiwanese oolongs are not as heavily oxidized and therefore richer, creamier, more flowery. I would even say that they are mildly vegetal. Both Chinese and Taiwanese oolongs initially are very strong and can be bitter, but have a smooth and much milder finish with a very sweet aftertaste.

Because of this, either type of Oolong goes very well with the cookies. The lemony citrus bite of the cookie also highlights the floral notes of the tea. I think the lightness of Oolong lends well to any cookie with a sharp flavor, which makes the Apricot filled lemon cookie and Oolong combination a match made in heaven.

Drop me a line in the comments form; I would love to hear what you think!