The Launching of the Sunday Tea Tastings

Last month we launched our new Sunday Tea Tasting series.  This afternoon tea experience is structured like our Wine Mondays, with all guests arriving at the same time.  One Sunday a month we will gather at 3:00 to enjoy a themed afternoon tea with some special surprises, as well as taste our way through five different teas.  The menu, teas and discussion on our first session on Nepal was lively and varied!

Along with discussing and tasting the various teas, we had the opportunity to chat about some of the local customs and cuisine of Nepal.  We shared a welcoming drink made with Alliya, a Nepalese liquor distilled traditionally from either millet or rice.  This is often made at home to serve to special guests (which of course our L’Espalier guests are!) or at festival time.

The last tea that we tasted was a Himalayan salted butter tea.  When enjoyed in Tibet and Nepal it is traditionally made from Yak butter, but Yak butter is curiously hard to come by in Boston, so we enjoyed a version made from a recipe shared with me on my recent trip to the Illam tea district in Nepal utilizing cows milk.  Rather than the clear glass teapots that we used for our other tasting teas, to best enjoy the color, clarity and hue of the teas, we enjoyed our salted butter tea from authentic Nepalese teapots.

As we finished up our meal, our guests had a chance to taste some lapsi, a popular Nepalese snack.  The brown-orange squares shown are lapsi, a sugared dried fruit that tastes like a wonderful combination of mango and passion fruit perhaps with a touch of tamarind thrown in.  The darker pieces are a variation that consists of pureed lapsi combined with salt, chilies and spices, then dried and fermented.  Quite popular in Nepal, but the general opinion at our tasting is that it is an acquired taste!


At L’Espalier we are looking forward to Sunday, October 21st when we will take a focused look at the teas of Fujian province, China, the birthplace of both white and oolong teas.  There are so many exquisite teas from that region, that my biggest challenge was deciding which teas for us to feature.  But you’ll need to join us next week to find out.

How to make breakfast for dessert

Pastry Chef Jiho Kim whipped up this dessert, which he calls “Breakfast”, a play on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,  at Boston Magazine‘s Top Desserts event last week. Jiho’s dish includes a butter brioche cake, gianduja cremeaux (similar to Nutella), Concord grape jelly, bacon powder, milk foam, and milk sorbet (not pictured).

Here are all of the recipes for the components on the dish, should you dare try this at home!

Gianduja Cremeaux
Yield: 22 Cylinders

560g Gianduja
651g Heavy Cream
420g Water
42g Glucose
2.1g Agar (a gelling agent, derived from seaweed)
2.1g Iota (a gelling agent, derived from seaweed)
.53g Locust Bean Gum (a gelling agent, derived from the seeds of the carob tree)
2.1g Sea Salt

Bring cream to a boil with the gianduja and glucose. Hand blend all the dry ingredients into the water. Bring to a boil for 2 min, transfer to a vita prep (or blender) and blend for 2 min. Strain into ganache mix, whisk together and pour into cylinder molds.

Milk Meringue
Yield: 2.5 Dehydrator Trays

1000g Skim Milk
500g Mint Milk
2.5g Iota
1.25g Guar Gum
150g Sugar
1 tsp Pregel Mint Extract

Bring milk to a boil and transfer to a Vita Prep (or blender). Add iota, guar, and sugar, blend well for 3 minutes. Strain and whip until stiff peak. Pipe into small “kisses” and dehydrate.

Concord Grape Fluid Gel
Yield: ~ 1qt

600g Concord Grape Puree
400g Water
10g Low Gellan (gelling agent)
3.4g Sodium Citrate
200g Sugar
1g Xanthan Gum
4g Malic Acid

Boil puree with water. Transfer to Vita Prep (or blender). Blend in remaining ingredients in order. Blend well. Set on ice, blend again, and pass through a chinoise for smoothness.

Milk Sorbet
Yield: 1 gal

1800g Whole Milk
1200g Light Cream
120g Glucose Powder
4g Locust Bean Gum
4g Iota
4g Salt
200g Dehydrated Milk Solids
560g Sugar

Whisk the chemicals into the wet ingredients. Bring to a rolling boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and hand blend for 2 minutes. Then hand blend in glucose powder, milk solida, and sugar. Set on ice. Blend in Vita Prep (or blender) and pass through a  chinoise.

Brioche Microwave Cake

5ea eggs
60g cake flour
120g brioche
100g sugar
120g brown butter
6g salt

Vita Prep (or blend) together the eggs, brioche, sugar, and salt. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in sifted cake flour. Stream in melted, but not hot, brown butter while whisking. Load into a canister and charge twice with N2O. Pipe into a paper cup and microwave for 25 seconds or until fully cooked.

Bacon Powder

Malto Dextrin
Glucose Powder
LIquid Nitrogen

Bake bacon at 350F until crispy. Drain fat, mix in food processor with enough malto dextrin to make fluffy powder. Dip fried bacon in liquid nitrogen and Vita Prep to powder. Whisk into maltodextrin. Season with salt and glucose powder.

Jiho demonstrating one of the components on his dessert