It is no secret that I love tea (in addition to visiting Penzeys when I went to the States, I came back laden with tea from Teavana). I only drink herbal and caffeine-free teas (er, tisanes) but I confess that I have one black tea in my collection. It is Earl Grey Cream. It brings Earl Grey with its hint of bergamot orange to the next level with vanilla and cream. It is also wonderful to incorporate into dishes while cooking and baking. I have used Earl Grey in delicious (and not as delicious) shortbread cookies and here it is paired elegantly with baked rhubarb.
Let me preface this by saying this baked rhubarb is stupendously good*. It helps that it has a lot of my favourite flavours mixing sweet and sour perfectly. The rhubarb and apple are baked until softened, but not mush. Pick an apple that holds its shape, like Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp (one of my my favourite apples!), Gala, Northern Spy, etc – unless you prefer apple sauce. The fruit is lightly sweetened and the flavours abound with citrus (lemon juice and orange zest) that complements the pool of Earl Grey sauce. Cardamom adds the finishing touch. Perfect! Bliss!
I originally served it warm from the oven over chilled vanilla yogurt, and I am sure it would be delicious over ice cream as described by Chez Danisse where I found the recipe. The next day, the sauce thickened slightly and was wonderful for breakfast with yogurt again, but also served over oatmeal. If you prefer more of a smoother sauce, zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes and it disintegrates into a thick sauce.
PS. Does anyone know where to get a good decaf Earl Grey Cream tea that ships to Canada? Bonus if in Toronto!
*It was so good that I called my mom past her bedtime (and past mine) to tell her how awesome it was. Thankfully I didn’t wake her up. It was also too late to share it with all of you, as I try not to photograph food without natural light. I knew I’d have to wait until the morning before I could snap some photos!
Baked Rhubarb and Apples with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest
3 cups roughly chopped (1-inch pieces) rhubarb, from about 6 long thin ribs (just under 1 lb)
3 cups roughly chopped (1-inch pieces) apple, from 2 peeled apples (I used Golden Delicious which keeps its shape well)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or normal sugar)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp loose leaf or 2 bags of Earl Grey tea steeped in 3/4 cup just-boiled water for 3 minutes and then cooled (I used Earl Grey Cream loose leaf tea)
Zest of 1-2 oranges
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Place chopped rhubarb and apple in a medium casserole dish or oven-safe pot.
3. Add remaining ingredients and gently toss. Taste one chunk of apple and one chunk of rhubarb at this stage. They will both be nicely sugar-coated and crisp.
4. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir and bake an additional 15 minutes. Fruit should be tender.
5. Serve hot with ice cream or let cool (it will thicken) over (vegan) yogurt, ricotta, oatmeal, etc.