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Fall-ing Into Tea

October 21, 2019

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Fall is truly here judging by the mounds of persimmons, Asian pears, Kyoho- and Concord-style grapes, and pomegranates piled high on the tables of farmers’ market vendors. Where summer went is hard to say, but I am cheered by the prospect of combining this bounty of seasonal produce with teas – from delicate whites to smoky blacks and a bit of oolong in between. Poaching the fruits in tea and topping with a malt-powder-flavored, softly-whipped cream is easy and delicious. Decorate with a showering of pomegranate arils and you’ve got a beautiful coupe which would end any dinner, from weeknight to weekend, for guests.

Instructions: 

  • If you are using Fuyu persimmons (the flat variety that can be eaten hard like an apple) or brown speckle-skinned Asian pears, peel them first. Then cut into sixths or eighths, depending on the size of the fruit.
  • Brew up some tea–Chinese Yunnan or Indian Assam are my go-to’s here.
  • Add a light drizzle of your favorite honey (such as clover or orange blossom) and then cook the liquid at the barest simmer.
  • Place the prepared fruit into the liquid and poach on low heat, partially covered, for about 30 minutes; being mindful that the liquid will reduce and partially evaporate so it may need to be topped off with more brewed tea. The fruit will float, but should be mostly submerged in the tea as it cooks.
  • After about a half hour of cooking, remove from heat and allow the fruit to steep in the liquid until fully cooled.
  • Remove from the pot and store the fruit and liquid in a tightly-covered container or bowl.
  • When ready to serve, top off the fruit with some roasted grapes (place grapes, preferably seedless, on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined sheet pan, sprinkle the fruit lightly with sugar and then roast in a preheated 325 degree F. oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the fruit has shriveled some and appears caramelized. This can be done hours or even a day in advance of serving the dessert.)
  • Serve with malt whipped cream—for 4 servings, whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 T. malt powder (Horlick’s or Carnation are well-known brands to look for) to soft peaks.
  • Serve the fruit and its liquid and the grapes with a generous dollop of the cream for a simply delicious ending to a nice dinner.

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