Tea-rific dessert idea
SINCE tea was first brought from China in the 9th Century, Japanese monks and nobles have cultivated a meditative practice centred around its contemplation.
Known as Chado, or the Way of Tea, this highly ritualised ceremony splices together philosophical ideas of inner spirituality with a humble acceptance of the ephemerality of life.
The tea used for this ceremony is a refined form of green tea called matcha. Known for its pronounced aroma and deeply savoury flavours, matcha is the result of a highly specialised form of tea production.
Unlike traditional tea plants that are grown in full sunlight, in the weeks ahead of harvest matcha bushes are covered with hessian cloths to remove sunlight. This causes the plant to generate vastly increased amounts of chlorophyll, turning the leaves a deep shade of green. This in turn causes a radical change in the flavour profile.
Once picked, the tea can be processed in a range of ways: as whole dried leaves (sencha); as compressed blocks (tencha); or as a finely ground powder (matcha). That powder is considered to be most highly valued of all.
But matcha is more than simply the basis for a cup of tea, it is also a superb ingredient for a range of savoury and sweet recipes. From doughnuts to butter cakes, ice cream to eclairs, matcha has become one of the idiosyncratic flavours of our age. To use it in baking, it is simply a matter of dissolving the powder in liquid before folding it in gently.
MATCHA AND RASPBERRY ROULADE serves / 10 Ingredients
20g matcha powder
3 tbsp buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
160g caster sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
50g plain flour
100g white chocolate, chopped 1 cup thickened cream ¼ cup sour cream
½ cup icing sugar
1 punnet raspberries, halved Icing sugar, toasted almonds and raspberries, to serve
Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the matcha powder, buttermilk and half the vanilla in a small bowl until smooth, then set aside. Place 2 eggs and 3 egg yolks (reserving the whites) in the bowl of an electric mixer with half the caster sugar and beat with the whisk attachment on high speed for 10 minutes.
Whip the whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks, then add the remaining caster sugar 2 tsp at a time, whipping until stiff peaks form. Stir the matcha paste into the egg mixture, fold in the flour gently, then fold in the meringue. Spread on a lined 45cm x 30cm Swiss roll pan and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched. Remove the baking paper, then roll up in a kitchen towel and allow to cool.
Melt the white chocolate and half the cream in a microwave, then set aside to cool. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer with the remaining cream, sour cream, icing sugar and remaining vanilla. Whip to stiff peaks. Unroll the cake. Spread the cream mixture on top, scatter with raspberries, then roll up. Slice and dust with icing sugar and scatter with almonds and raspberries.