Best Chinese Summer Tea and Dessert Recipes

 

Summers are all about patios, barbecues, picnics, and pot-lucks. Entertaining and get-togethers can be stress-free and cost-efficient with easy-to-make iced drinks and desserts. Here are some featured recipes from my food blog, Cooking with Alison.

  1. Chrysanthemum Tea Recipe (hot or cold)
  2. Mango Pudding Recipe
  3. Hong Kong Style Milk Tea Recipe (hot or cold)
  4. Egg Tarts Recipe

 

Chrysanthemum Tea Recipe

This Chinese, non-caffeinated, floral tea has a mild flavor and is delicious when sweetened. It can be served hot or cold. Chrysanthemum tea has several health benefits, including balancing your body when you've eaten too much deep fried or barbecued food. This recipe makes at least 4 cups.

Ingredients

1 scant cup yellow or white Chinese rock sugar

1 cup dried yellow or white chrysanthemum flowers

4 cups boiling water

Instructions

Make a simple syrup by bringing 1 cup of water to a rolling boil in a pot over high heat. Add the rock sugar and maintain a boil, uncovered, until all of the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely. This can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a kettle. Meanwhile, rinse the chrysanthemum flowers under cool running water. Drain well and place them in a tea pot. Pour the boiling water over the flowers in the tea pot. Steep for at least 5 minutes. Gently stir in 4 tablespoons of the simple syrup. Add more to taste if desired. Serve hot or allow the tea to cool completely. If serving cold, strain out the flowers and chill the tea in the refrigerator. Add more simple syrup to taste if desired.

 

Mango Pudding Recipe

Chinese mango pudding is a fruity and creamy gelatin dessert. It is best served cold with evaporated milk. This recipe makes enough for up to 12 small ramekins or molds.

Ingredients

3 cups of 100% mango nectar (Note: My preferred brand is VITA sana, a product from Italy.)

1 ripe mango, cut into small cubes

1 cup half and half cream (Note: For a healthier option, substitute with evaporated milk.)

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 individual packages of Knox brand gelatin (14 g)

evaporated milk (optional for serving)

Instructions

In a large heat proof bowl, dissolve the gelatin powder in 1/2 cup of cold water by stirring well. Then bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a pot over medium heat. Stir in the sugar until it completely dissolves. Then pour the sugar water into the gelatin water while stirring vigorously. The gelatin should be completely dissolved. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and into a clean bowl. Gently stir in the mango nectar and half and half cream until well combined. Distribute the fresh pieces of mango into the ramekins/molds and add the liquid. Allow the liquid to cool completely. Then cover with plastic syran wrap and refrigerate overnight or until completely set and chilled through. Just prior to serving, add some cold evaporated milk if desired.

 

Hong Kong Style Milk Tea

Hong Kong style milk tea is strongly brewed, mildly sweet, and creamy without being too rich. It should also feel smooth, silky, and light weight. The secret to making the best milk tea lies in the blend and ratio of different types of black tea. You will need a cotton tea strainer (also known as a sackcloth bag) and a metal ring with handle. This recipe makes 4 to 6 cups of tea and doubles well.

Ingredients

8 tablespoons loose tea leaves or tea dust/fannings (broken tea leaves)

Note: Use a combination of different types of black and red teas. My favourite combination is assam tea, ceylon tea, and English breakfast tea in a 2:1:1 ratio.

sweetened condensed milk or granulated white sugar

evaporated milk (Note: The best brand to use is Black & White, a product from Holland.)

Instructions

Boil 4 cups of filtered water over high heat in a stove-top tea pot. Then turn off the heat. Place the tea leaves in a cotton tea strainer fitted on a round metal holder. Place this inside the tea pot so that the tea leaves are steeping in the hot water and the metal holder rests on the rim of the tea pot. Steep for 10 minutes. Then place the strainer with tea leaves inside a different tea pot. While holding the strainer above the opening of the empty tea pot, carefully pour the hot tea from the first tea pot and into the second tea pot. Ensure that the hot water pours over the tea leaves and through the cotton strainer. Then transfer the strainer and tea leaves back to the first tea pot. Repeat these steps for at least three more pours.  

To serve the tea hot: Warm your serving cups by swirling some boiling water in them. Discard the water. Then add evaporated milk to each of the tea cups. Depending on your taste, the evaporated milk should make up anywhere between 1/5 and 1/3 of the cup’s volume. If using sweetened condensed milk, stir in one tablespoon or more to taste. Then fill the cups with the hot tea and stir until the tea is creamy and light brown in colour. If using sugar, add to taste and stir until dissolved.

To serve the tea cold:  Prepare a pot of milk tea at least one day in advance. Allow it to chill through completely in the refrigerator prior to serving. If desired, you could make ice cubes with milk tea, so that your drink doesn't become diluted as the ice cubes melt.

 

Egg Tarts Recipe

Cantonese egg tarts are subtly sweet desserts that consist of an egg custard baked in pastry shells. The shells can be made from shortcrust pastry or puff pastry. This recipe uses puff pastry and makes approximately 20 tarts.

Ingredients

2 boxes of 12 frozen puff pastry tart shells (Note: I used the brand Tenderflake.)

3 large organic eggs, at room temperature (Note: Organic eggs are preferred, because the yolks tend to have more colour.)

100 grams icing sugar

85 grams evaporated milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

225 grams water

Instructions

Defrost the frozen puff pastry tart shells. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or 400 degrees F and place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Over medium high heat, heat the water in a medium sized pot until the water starts to steam. Then remove it from heat and stir in the icing sugar until it has completely dissolved. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the evaporated milk until well combined and stir in the vanilla extract. Very slowly, add the hot sugar water in a very thin stream to the eggs and evaporated milk while whisking continuously. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a lipped container and set aside. 

Place the defrosted puff pastry tart shells on a baking sheet. Pour the egg mixture into the tart shells until the filling reaches the bottom of the edge of the crust. Bake the tarts in the oven until the edges are lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F and bake for 8 to 10 more minutes. The custard should have puffed up into a dome shape. Open the oven door about 3 inches and wait for the top of the custard to flatten out. This will only take a minute or two. Then remove the tarts from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. The custards are done when the middle of the custard jiggles only slightly more than the edges of the custard, and when the edges of the pastry are lightly browned. The custard will set further as it cools. Serve the tarts warm (not hot) or at room temperature.