Osmanthus & Pomegranate Jellies

Dried osmanthus flowers is a chinese medicinal herb that’s believed to have excellent antioxidant properties and, more importantly- it improves complexion! I love the beautiful tiny blossoms, it’s peachy fragrance and delicate bittersweet and floral flavour. I used them to make a simple osmanthus tea and pomegranate jelly sweetened with plenty of honey. I’d recommend more honey than you’d think, the sweetness dials down when the jellies are chilled.

300ml water

1 tablespoon dried osmanthus flowers (or to taste)

3 tablespoons honey (to taste)

2 1/2 teaspoon gelatin, bloomed in 30ml c0ld water

seeds from 1 small pomegranate

Bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and add the osmanthus flowers. Let it steep for 5 minutes then add then honey and gelatin. Divide into small glasses and sprinkle in the pomegranate seeds. Chill in the fridge until set, about 2 hours.

Earl Grey Chiffon Cake

I love chiffon cakes! It’s so light and fluffy that you can easily eat a quarter of the cake in one sitting. And it’s really versatile, you can flavour it any way you like by changing the liquids; ie in this case, I subbed the orange juice called for in the original recipe with a strong cup of earl grey tea. Another of my favourite liquids to use is soy milk, it yields a cake that is slightly denser with a lovely soy fragrance. Or, instead of changing the liquids in the recipe, you can add a dry ingredient like spices, herbs and cocoa powder, or pastes like adzuki bean or black sesame, or even fruit purées.

Just a quick tip though, if adding an “oily” flavouring like sesame paste, reduce the oil in the recipe slightly to compensate for the additional oil from the flavouring. This is because oil/butter bursts precious air bubbles and this will result in a flat, heavy chiffon cake.

And the most important thing you need to know when making chiffon cakes- don’t grease the tube pan (yes, you need one)! And flip it upside down to cool immediately so it doesn’t collapse when cooling.

Apple + Earl Grey Frangipane + Caramelised Honey Glaze Tart

This tart is loosely based on a pear tart that we learnt in class a few weeks ago, but I’ve used apples instead of poached pears and flavoured the frangipane with loose earl grey tea leaves. Earl grey has such a lovely, fragrant flavour and I thought honey would pair well, so I drizzled some over about 10 minutes before I took it out of the oven so to slightly caramelise it.

Apples

♡4 medium sized eating apples. I used Cox Pippin because I had it at hand.

1. Peel, core and slice the apples to about 1/4cm thickness.

Pâte brisée
♡200g flour
♡100g butter, cold and cubed
♡5g sugar
♡5g salt
♡1 egg
♡1 tsp vanilla
♡10ml water

1. Rub in butter into flour until sandy
2. Whisk eggs with vanilla and water
3. Pour all the eggs into the butter/flour mixture and mix lightly until it forms a ball. In school, we “fraser” the dough a couple of times to properly incorporate the ingredients. Be careful not to overwork the dough, otherwise it’ll shrink. It’s not very important for this tart though since it won’t be baked blind, and the filling prevents it from shrinking.
4. Flatten into a disk, clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to relax the dough.

Frangipane
♡115g softened butter
♡115g sugar
♡2 eggs
♡1/2 teaspoon vanilla
♡115g ground almonds
♡50g flour
♡1.5 tablespoon earl grey tea leaves, crushed slightly
♡honey
♡butter
♡caster sugar

1. Cream the softened sugar and sugar together and add the egg and vanilla in bit by bit. It may split and look curdled, you can try to bring it back together but don’t worry too much about it.
2. Add the ground almonds, flour and earl grey leaves, mix together.

Assembly & Baking:

1. Remove the pâte brisée dough from the fridge and roll out to 3mm thickness. Line the tin, and chill it with the overhanging dough untrimmed for 10 minutes.
2. After chilling, dock the bottom of the dough with a fork and trim the edges.
3. Spread the frangipane in the tart, making it level.
4. Arrange the apple slices on the frangipane in concentric circles.
5. Scatter pea-sized pats of butter over the apples and sprinkle on some caster sugar. This is just so the apples don’t dry out.
6. Bake at 190ºC for 35 minutes, then lower to 160ºC for another 12-15 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, drizzle some honey over the tart and place back in the oven to caramelise and for its flavour to permeate the apples.