Monday, June 13, 2011

New England Meets Old South

I could hardly wait to get this one steeping when my box of Boston Tea Company goodness arrived last week! I haven't ventured much into oolong blends per se, prefering the slightly sweet Iron Goddess/Tie Guan Yin leaf straight up. I've had great peach teas, and I've had bad peach teas as well - all black teas up to this point.

This isn't a typical oolong. It's got a rich color and cup, medium-to-almost-dark oxidation. The peach isn't overpowering, and is more present in the dry leaf aroma than in the cup itself.

What made me a fan, however, is that there are SUNFLOWERS in this blend! Who would have thought of adding sunflower? It goes so well with the richness of the oolong and adds a nutty kick to the peach. It had me craving my grandmother's famous flaky-soft biscuits - would be perfect on a breezy southern spring afternoon on Dalton Pike.

While I can't re-create my dear grandmother's specialty from scratch, I did create a new twist on this Southern staple by incorporating Peach Passion Oolong into the recipe (to follow).

The dry leaf - uniform oolong tea leaves, peach petals, and sunflower bits

The steeped cup - a rich amber

The finished treats: oolong-infused tea biscuits iced with sweet peach oolong syrup

A closer view - when cooled down, the oolong syrup caramelizes the crust

A special thank you to the folks at Boston Tea Company for thinking a tiny bit 'outside of the box' on this one, and inspiring a new culinary adventure. Iced oolong, these tea biscuits, and flowers from my garden - now I just need a wrap-around front porch, a rocking chair, and a lacy fan to pass the afternoon y'all :).

LatteTeaDah's Easy-Breezy Southern-Style Oolong Tea Biscuits

Note: I use low-fat Bisquik. It may be blasphemy, but I'm an impatient baker. The basic idea is to create your biscuit dough first, the normal way, whatever method or ingredient ratio you prefer. You want a dough that's sticky but still pliable. From there, the recipe gets tweaked and the tea works its magic.

Preheat oven to 450, prepare a baking pan or cookie sheet


1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup Bisquik flour/mix

1/2 cup of milk (soy milk can be a substitute, but you'll end up with a vanilla-sweet dough)

3 heaping tablespoons Boston Tea Company Peach Passion Oolong

Water to boil

Tea filter or tea pot

Granulated sugar or sugar substitute (approximately 1/2 cup or to taste)

1. Stir together the first 1 1/2 cups Bisquik and the milk in a large bowl until you have a sticky, pliable consistency and the flour is largely incorporated into the dough.

2. Heat approximately one cup of water to boil. You will be creating a 'Super Steep' - a highly concentrated cup of oolong tea, with a ratio of more leaves and less water. In your preferred container, add the tea leaves and water and steep for 3-5 minutes, removing the leaves. You should have a nice, dark cup of tea.

3. Allow the tea to cool slightly and add 1/2 cup of the concentrated tea to your biscuit dough. Stir in the other 1/2 cup of Bisquik mix until you reach the original consistency - sticky, yet pliable. It shouldn't be watery or runny. You can always add more flour mix until you get it right.

4. With a large serving spoon, drop biscuit-sized dollops of dough onto your baking sheet (my recipe created 8 regular-sized biscuits). Place in 450-degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes until they've risen just slightly and the tops are only just starting to turn a golden brown.

5. With the remaining 1/2 cup of tea, add an equal amount of granulated sugar or sugar substitute and stir - the idea is to create a simple syrup. You can heat this again on the stove or microwave it for a few seconds if you'd like a true thick 'syrup', but drizzling the liquid over the biscuits right out of the oven also helps caramelize the tea topping.

6. Remove the biscuits from the oven when slightly golden, drizzle the oolong sugar syrup topping over the warm biscuits right away and allow to cool.

Serve with a warm mug or a tall glass of Oolong and wipe the red clay off your shoes!


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