We were invited to a friends home for a barbecue, and I offered to bring dessert. After looking up recipes that appealed to me, I realized it was an evening of tea inspired confections. In the three sweet treats I made, orange pekoe, jasmine and earl grey infusions were all featured.
SWEET TEA AND LEMONADE CAKE
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 family size tea bags
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Lemonade Frosting (recipe to follow)
Heat oven to 350F. Grease with shortening, and flour a 13 by 9-inch pan. Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over tea bags in a heatproof glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and steep for 10 minutes. Lift tea bags from liquid, and press against side of bowl, using back of a spoon, discard tea bags. Cool tea for 20 minutes.
Beat butter in a separate large bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, add to butter mixture alternately with 1 cup tea, beginning and ending with flour mixture (discard any remaining tea). Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 20 minutes). Spread lemonade frosting on cake.
Beat 1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened, and 1/4 cup butter, softened, at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 6 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat in 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, just until blended. Increase speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, August 2014
JASMINE BUTTERMILK PANNA COTTA WITH BERRY SAUCE
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 cups cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 (3 inch) orange peel strip, white part removed
3 tablespoons jasmine tea
1 vanilla bean
2 cups whole buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon salt
berry sauce (recipe to follow)
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water, let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cream, sugar and orange peel in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Split vanilla bean, scrape seeds into cream mixture and place bean in mixture.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or just until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, immediately stir in gelatin mixture until smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Discard tea leaves and vanilla bean. Stir in buttermilk and salt. Strain into a heatproof glass measuring cup. Divide among 8 glasses. Cover and chill for 24 hours. Serve with berry sauce.
6 ounces fresh raspberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Coarsely mash 3/4 cup raspberries, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean paste in a bowl, let stand for 30 minutes. Stir in remaining raspberries just before serving.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, March 2013
LEMON EARL GREY SQUARES
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Earl Grey tea bags, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350F.
TO PREPARE CRUST
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, that extends 2 inches beyond the sides, coat foil with cooking spray.
Combine flour, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of tea leaves from 1 tea bag (discard remaining tea in bag), and salt in a bowl, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 19 minutes or until lightly browned.
TO PREPARE FILLING
Place juice in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tea bag to juice, cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Squeeze juice from tea bag into bowl, discard tea bag. Combine granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add rind and eggs to juice, stir with a whisk until combined. Add sugar mixture to juice mixture, stir with a whisk until well combined.
Remove crust from oven, pour filling onto hot crust. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan by lifting foil. Remove foil, cut into bars, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, June 2012