Chocolette's February challege for 'We Should Cocoa' is Tea. Now that is a real challenge, as I have not really had chocolate and tea before. I can imagine there could be delicious combinations of green tea and white chocolate, maybe? I am not a huge fan of green tea, so that was out for me.
But then, something clicked. What do I have practically every afternoon, around four? Well, tea and a biscuit, of course! Can anything be better than tea and biscuits in the afternoon? Unless of course it is tea creams and chocolate biscuits? Of course, gotcha!
I love dark teas, particularly my Nilgiri Tea that I smuggled into Canada. It's local to us (in India, that is, not here) and its a rarer tea in the sense that its not very well known outside the region, like say, Assam Tea. Nilgiri Tea is often used to make chai, as its a strong tea that doesn't get overwhelmed by spices and sadly, is a staple of commercial blended teas (sad, because its such a fantastic tea on its own). I use it quite liberally to make my Chai Ice Cream, and also as my go-to tea when I want to be reminded of home. I absolutely adore it, and I get my parents to send me loads through the Great Indian Trade Network [I will explain this one day :-)]
So I thought that Nilgiri Tea would work really well instead of Earl Grey for this tea cream recipe. The original recipe has been heavily adapted from Marcus Wareing's Earl Grey Tea Creams with Eccles Cake and Milk Foam (which is now not available on the BBC Food website, but luckily I was able to get a copy from an archive, and save it). Marcus made this for the Great British Menu challenge, and I remember watching it and just drooling over it! Of course, being the pleb that I am, I am using ordinary whipped cream on top of the creams, instead of milk foam! So, anyway, I figure I might take a few liberties in this challenge... and make this delicious dessert and serve it with chocolate dipped Cornish fairings, so adding the chocolate element.
Cornish Fairings are easily my favourite biscuit! I absolutely adore the gingeriness and have been known to add so much ginger that they are actually quite spicy. I got the recipe from Marie's 'The English Kitchen', which is a absolutely remarkable blog and my standby for delicious food for both everyday and fancy cooking!
I adapted Marie's recipe only slightly. Instead of the mixed peel, which I didn't have, I threw in a handful of chopped crystallised ginger. I also reduced the oven temperature to 150 C as my biscuits were burning at the bottom. And of course, I dipped them in melted dark Madagascar chocolate, then placed them in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
Did the hotchpotch of recipes work? You bet it did. Of course, dark chocolate and ginger are best friends already. The tea creams were amazing, with a light texture and reminiscent of a pannacotta, and surprisingly, went very well with the chocolate dipped fairings. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate and the spiciness of the ginger cut through the sweetness of the creams. The whole dessert worked as a whole, and I loved the fact that it was all very English but with a teeny Indian twist.
Note: This recipe makes two espresso cups of tea cream. For more increase quantities exponentially or refer to the original recipe here. If the recipe is not there, leave me a comment with your email address and I will send it to you)
2 egg yolks
65 ml sugar, measured in a cup measure (split into half)
80 ml milk
100 ml heavy cream or double cream
2 tbsp loose Nilgiri tea leaves (or 1 teabag)
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 175 C.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream and half the sugar till the milk is steaming. Add the tea leaves, and allow to steep for 3 - 4 minutes, until you get the desired colour. You can leave it quite light or go fairly dark like I did.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and the remaining sugar.
Gently strain the hot milk + tea mixture into the egg yolks, whisking to stop the yolks from curdling.
Place 2 espresso cups into a shallow roasting tin. Fill the cups two thirds of the way with the tea cream mixture. Then gently pour in hot water into the tin so it comes up to halfway of the cups.
Place in the oven, and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the creams are set, with a slight wobble in the middle.
Take out of the oven, leave to cool then pop into the fridge until completely cold.
Whip the cream with the sugar, and using a piping bag, swirl on top of the tea creams.
Serve with the chocolate dipped fairings.