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Posted by on Dec 19, 2010 in Uncategorized |

FAQ’s Part 2- Tea is a Spice

When most people think of tea, they think of tea bags.  Their mind, depending on the season, thinks either of hot, steamy liquid or a cool refreshing beverage.  Rarely does anyone think of tea as a spice.

As with all spices, tea is a plant. Duh, right?  But seriously, take yourself out of the box and relook at the entire picture.  All spices start out as a plant and if you look at tea in it’s most organic form, a plant, you understand that those little (or sometimes big) leaves are capable of more than just a good cuppa tea.

Cooking with tea is something Tupelo Honey Teas has been wanting to highlight on this blog.  We started with our friend, Crumpets.  She kicked off cooking in a home kitchen with our teas.  Being at the Pittsburgh Public Market has allowed me, The Tea Lady, to meet many different people.  One of those people happens to be Joe Bucco.  Joe came by one Saturday looking for some Chamomile tea.  I inquired and he explained he is a chef at Nine on Nine and was planning on using the Chamomile to make a Creme Brulee.  Astonished, I asked him to please email me with the results.  He did and said it turned out AMAZING!  Of course, my mind doesn’t have a shut off valve especially when it comes to Tupelo Honey Teas.  I responded to his email and asked him to be a guest blogger.  He said “Yes”.  To say the least, I am beyond thrilled!

Joe recently emailed me the recipe for the Chamomile Creme Brulee.  Here it is:

Chamomile Creme Brulee
20 egg yolks
1 qt. heavy cream
1c. sugar
2t. vanilla extract
1t. almond extract
1 1/2 oz. Tupelo Honey chamomile tea
 Preheat oven to 325 farenheit. With a piece of cheesecloth, make a pouch containing the chamomile, and tie with string to ensure the tea won’t come out. Put this sachet with the cream into a saucepot over low heat and slowly heat until cream comes to a simmer. When it comes to a simmer, turn off heat and let cream sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, Remove your tea sachet and squeeze any moisture back into the cream and discard the sachet. (the cream should now have a very distinct yet subtle chamomile flavor. If you would like it stronger, let the tea sit in the cream for a little more time) Once again, bring the cream up to a simmer. In a large bowl combine egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Whisk this mixture until well combined and no lumps are visible. Take your heated cream and slowly ladle a few ounces into the bowl of egg, whisking the whole time. Repeat this one ladle at a time until all of the cream has been whisked into the eggs, making a custard. (it is important not to add the hot cream too fast, or your eggs will scramble. In a baking dish, or other high-sided oven-safe piece of cookwear, place your  ramekins and fil 3/4 of the way with your custard. Place this in your preheated oven, but before closing the door take a pitcher of  warm water and pour into the baking dish, allowing the water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins but not coming into contact with the custard inside. (This will help ensure even cooking and reduce the chance of overcooking and cracking. Never add cold water to hot baking dish, add water before it goes into the oven!) Close door and allow to bake. After 25 or 30 minutes, rotate the baking dish in the oven. Cook longer, just until the creme brulees  are no longer jiggly and soupy. Let cool. Remove from water bath.
You now have the creme, but its time to brulee. This is important to do safely and right before the dish is going to be served. Sprikle the top of the baked creme brulee with a layer of sugar. I prefer sugar in the raw, but regular granulated works just fine. Brush off any excess sugar, you want one thin complete layer of sugar from edge to edge. The best way to brulee is with a small kitchen torch, made for this sort of thing and usually powered by butane. If you have a torch like this, wave the flame back and forth over the sugar at a close range until it gets light brown and begins to bubble. It will then cool and harden into a glassy crust. For those of you without a torch, you can do the same thing with the broiler feature of your oven, but keep a very close eye on  the sugar as it will go from uncooked to perfect to burnt in no time flat. Watch for the light brown and bubbly top and then remove. If you dont feel comfortable torching the top of your creme brulee, simply omit the sugar and enjoy the baked custard plain. Serve creme brulees as-is or with a garnish such as powdered sugar, slivered almonds, or cherries.
makes about 8
If you do make this recipe, please send us pictures and comments to  We’d love to include you and your thoughts to our website!
Bee Well. Drink (or Cook with) Tupelo Honey Teas.
The Tea Lady