Up until fairly recently I wasn’t really a tea drinker at all – I was (and still am) a hardcore coffee lover. But lately I’ve been seduced by the world of loose tea – I had no idea there were so many varieties. Ever since tea company Adagio sent me some samples of their delicious teas, I’ve been thinking about various ways I could use tea in my baking.
Firstly I needed to find out the best way to infuse the tea flavour into the ingredients. In “Baking from my home to yours” Dorie Greenspan recommends steeping the tea leaves in butter to extract the flavours. Dorie says she learned this trick from the tea masters at Mariage Freres in Paris.
These delicate thai chai infused madeleines are adapted from Dorie’s Earl Gray madeleines recipe. Shortly after I placed my madeleine tray in the oven, my kitchen was permeated with a gently spiced, aromatic aroma with notes of lemongrass, cardamom and cinnamon.
Thai Chai Spiced Madeleines
recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours
75g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons loose Thai Chai tea
100g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
makes 12 Madeleines or 24 mini Madelines
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the tea and allow it to infuse for 15 minutes. Line a small sieve with a double layer of damp cheesecloth or two layers of extra strength kitchen towel, then strain the butter into a small bowl and discard the tea leaves. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Place the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and using your fingertips, work the zest into the sugar until the smell of lemon is strong. Add the eggs and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until pale and thick. Add the honey and vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients. When they are only just incorporated, fold in the butter. Place cling film against the surface of the batter and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to bake, grease your Madeleine tin and preheat the oven to 200C. Spoon the batter into the little moulds. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes (but start to check after 8) or until the madeleines are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the mold by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. If some stick, use a butter knife to gently prise them out. Lovely eaten warm alongside a pot of tea, obviously!
If you’ve feeling inspired to bake with tea, have a look on the Adadio site and check out all the flavours they stock – you’ll be spoilt for choice!