Afternoon Tea & Food Pairings with JING Tea...

It's been a long time since my last post, but I finally have something useful to share - I guess that's what I've been waiting for... I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to blog because I'm always looking to share some writing alongside any photography, and especially alongside food photography and recipes. I mean, I have enough images to fill post after post, but I don't feel like I have anything meaningful to talk about! But now I do! Because I have some food to share with you and food is always useful, right? Also, I honestly feel that these images convey the whole story without the need for a huge amount of written words. So, to make up for lost time, I don't just have one recipe for you, but four! Yes, four recipes for you to try out for your next summery afternoon tea. Though I have to admit that I wouldn't necessarily advocate baking in this already baking heat... 

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I've "played" with food pairings before and have mostly had a lot of fun with it (some complete disasters notwithstanding), so I wanted to really go all out this time with an afernoon tea that complements the beautiful new fruit and floral tea range from JING Tea. Instead of just complementing it though, I decided to take fairly literal cues from the flavours and translate them into baked goods, because each of those teas is seriously aromatic with a very distinct taste. If you haven't tried the teas yet, I would honestly urge you to give them a go. Now, most of you will know me as a die-hard coffee drinker, so me advocating tea might come as a bit of a surprise. Even more of a surprised might be to find out that I haven't had a single cup in over six (!!!) weeks. Since I needed to replace my coffee with something else, herbal teas seemed like the best and tastiest alternative.

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Anyway, as mentioned at the beginning, I've prepared four recipes which should make for a beautiful afternoon tea and satisfy most tastes. Each recipe I have come up with is designed to match one of the JING Teas and their flavours, and have even used the tea in two of them: the delicately flavoured Apple Pavlova with JING's Apple & Hibiscus Tea. and the Granita which is made with the amazing Pineapple & Osmanthus Tea. Just add some cucumber sandwiches to your table if needed and you're good to go. Here then the four recipes:

  • Pavlova with an Apple Curd and Apple Slices
  • Strawberry Madeleines
  • Rose & Raspberry Éclairs
  • Pineapple & Osmanthus with White Rum Granita

If any of these sound good to you, read on and prepare yourself for friends to knock on your door to join you for your afternoon tea. 

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Pavlova with Apple Curd & Apple Slices:

Because of the different elements that need to cool down for substantial amounts of time, I would advise to prep everything one day ahead of assembly. You could add some cream on the top if you're so inclined and I did briefly contemplate it, but I found the curd to be so rich as well as delicately flavoured that I decided against it. 

Ingredients:

For the Meringue:

  • 6 egg whites (large, organic eggs)
  • 300g caster sugar (I use golden caster sugar for an off-white look, go with normal caster sugar if you want your meringue to be snow-white)
  • 1tbsp corn flour

For the Curd:

  • 650g Bramley Apples
  • 6 egg yolks (left from the meringue)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100ml JING Apple & Hibiscus tea

For the apple slices:

  • 400g Bramley Apples
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

How it's done:

Starting with the curd:

  • boil some water and combine 100ml with 1tbsp of JING Apple & Hibiscus tea, leave to steep
  • peel, core and slice the apples and put into a large saucepan
  • add the tea
  • over a medium heat, cook the apples until soft
  • mash them with a wooden spoon until they're broken down
  • now pass the apples through a fine sieve into a heat-proof bowl
  • separate 6 eggs and keep the egg whites for the meringues
  • whisk the 6 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs together
  • put the bowl with the apple purée over a saucepan with boiling water making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl
  • start slowly heating the apples and add the butter
  • whisk until you have a smooth and glossy mix
  • heat the mix to 55-60C (no higher)
  • slowly pour in the eggs whilst continuously whisking
  • turn up the heat and whisk until you have the consistency of a thick custard
  • once done, take the bowl of the heat, cover with cling film right on top of the curd and leave to cool

Next the meringues:

  • preheat your oven to 140C
  • draw three circles (around 20-24cm) on baking parchment and place them on baking trays
  • put the egg whites into a mixer bowl and whisk until stiff peeks are forming
  • continue to whisk whilst slowly adding the sugar
  • once all the sugar is dissolved, add the cornflour and mix until you have a glossy meringue
  • using a spatula, put 1/3 of the meringue mix onto each parchment paper
  • spread the meringue to just about the size of each circle
  • put the meringues in the oven and bake for one hour
  • after an hour, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool with the oven door closed for 3 hours

For the apple slices:

  • peel and core the apples, then cut into slices of about 3-5mm thickness
  • put the apple slices and lemon juice into a large saucepan and start cooking them on a medium heat
  • cook the apples for only about 4 minutes or until just about soft
  • tip them straight out of the saucepan into a colander and leave to cool

For the assembly:

  • heap roughly 1/3 of the curd onto the first meringue, then top with roughly 1/3 of the cooked apple slices
  • top with the second meringue
  • cover with another 1/3 of curd and apple slices
  • top with the third meringue
  • now top with the remaining apple curd and slices
  • decorate with flowers for a pretty presentation
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Strawberry Madeleines: 

Makes around 40

Ingredients:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 120g butter, melted and cooled
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200g fresh strawberries
  • 3 large eggs
  • butter and flour for the moulds

How it's done:

  • start by cleaning the strawberries and then put them into a food processor 
  • whizz the strawberries until you have a smooth purée
  • next whisk the eggs and caster sugar until you have a fluffy white mix
  • add the strawberry purée whilst whisking
  • add the flour and whisk until all combined
  • now add the melted butter and slowly incorporate into the batter
  • put the batter into the fridge and cool for at least one hour or over night
  • thickly butter your mould(s), dust with flour and put into the freezer for 15 minutes
  • preheat your oven to 200C
  • take the batter out of the fridge and the mould out of the freezer
  • fill each mould with around 1tbsp of batter
  • bake for about 8 minutes - they should have risen in the middle and be "spongy" when pressed down gently
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Rose & Raspberry Éclairs:

I tried the filling with a whole tablespoon of rosewater which was too strong a flavour for my test peeps. I loved it, but then I'm very partial to strong flavours. So, 1/2 a tablespoon gives a beautiful rose and raspberry flavour that won't overpower your tastebuds. 

Makes around 12 éclairs

Ingredients:

For the choux pastry:

  • 200ml water
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 4 medium, organic eggs

For the filling:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 225g fresh raspberries
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1/2tbsp rose water

For the icing:

  • 80g fresh raspberries
  • 200g icing sugar
  • optional: fresh raspberries, freeze-dried raspberry powder

How it's done:

  • preheat your oven to 200C
  • if you have, prepare your éclairs mould by greasing it and dusting with a little flour, otherwise line a baking tray with parchment paper
  • put the water with the butter into a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • now dump the flour into the water and stir with a wooden spoon
  • stir until the dough starts to come off the edges
  • add the eggs one by one whilst vigorously stirring
  • keep stirring until you have a smooth dough
  • now transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large, round nozzle
  • pipe the dough into the moulds or onto the parchment paper leaving space between each
  • put the éclairs in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 200C, then turn down the temperature to 175C and bake for a further 30 minutes
  • once done, remove the éclairs from the oven and leave to cool
  • when the éclairs are completely cooled, slice them horizontally down the middle
  • to make the filling, start by whizzing the raspberries in a food processor with the icing sugar
  • now beat the double cream until thick and stiff peeks are forming
  • add the raspberry purée and rose water and fold in to combine
  • put the cream into a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle
  • now pipe the cream onto the bottom half of each éclair and place the top half onto the cream
  • to make the icing, start by pressing the fresh raspberries through a fine sieve (you could blend them first, but they're generally so soft that it seems like a waste of time)
  • slowly add the icing sugar and keep stirring until you have a smooth, gloopy mix
  • using a teaspoon, pour a little icing onto each éclair
  • put a single raspberry on top and scatter a little raspberry powder onto the icing 
  • refrigerate until ready for serving (especially important during our current heat wave!)
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Pineapple, Osmanthus & White Rum Granita:

This one is best made the day before because it needs at least 8 hours to freeze. 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 500ml JING Pineapple & Osmanthus tea
  • 100ml white Rum
  • 3tbsp sugar

How it's done:

  • brew the tea and add the sugar whilst hot
  • leave the tea to steep for 10 minutes
  • pour the tea through a sieve into a freeze-proof container
  • add the rum and stir
  • freeze for 2 hours
  • using a fork, rake through the forming ice
  • freeze again for a further two hours, then rake again
  • freeze for a further two hours and pass the fork through it again
  • you should have a consistency of "snow granules" by the end of it
  • serve in martini glasses to add some glamour to your table
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Disclaimer: I have been compensated for this post by JING Tea, however, all images, recipe, writings and opinions are my own. And yes, I really have given up coffee, too.