Monday, 12 April 2010

Tea Jelly

Another mention of that restaurant.

A couple of things left me with very strong taste memories, the first was the Douglas fir sherbet. I was out mountain biking a couple of months after eating at the fat duck & passed through a Douglas fir stand, instant hunger.

The second was tea jelly, I was reminded of it whilst doing research for the shortbread, since the chocolate wine was a definite no-go maybe the tea jelly would be good ? I wasn't holding out much hope due to the presence of exotic gelling agents in HB's cookery. Fortunately this used good old Gelatin. Malic acid was the weird ingredient, but its easy to get at homebrew shops.

The book is very precise about the water used, it needs to have a calcium level of 100-400ppm. I had a slight factor of 10 issue when converting to milligrams so ended up with a water having 36ppm of calcium (this may be important later).

It also needs 3 different types of tea, calling for earl grey, Darjeeling & green. I've got a fairly good idea about tea, so I used my favourite smoked earl grey and swapped the Darjeeling for a maloom and used a gunpowder green for the green tea .
Anyway you make a syrup of 2 kinds of sugar & then cool it to 4c. Then the lemon juice, malic acid and teas go in to infuse for a couple of hours, which you then strain to clear (I used 2 strainers, you can use a muslin if you want it really clear). Add the leaf gelatine to the mixture and heat gently till it's dissolved and refrigerate till it sets.

I'd not left myself a lot of time, and it didn't seem to be setting, so I panicked and put it in the freezer, all the while trying to work out if I had got my factors of 10 confused. I served it (more than a little dispiritedly) as a failed tea ice. The taste was pretty much spot on (I'm ridiculously happy about this as its a taste I really enjoyed and I can make it whenever I want) and it had started to gel so maybe my failure was time based ?
I've found a water with the correct calcium ratio, so I'll be having another attempt and I'll leave myself some more time.

Note for Americans, jelly in this case is similar to jello, not a preserve for spreading on bread.

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