Having made the traditional hot cross buns many times before, I wanted to experiment and try something different this year. Of course, I thought of green tea, one of my favourite flavours. I came across quite a few recipes that paired these green tea hot cross buns with red bean paste or sweetened red beans, but I love the pairing of green tea and white chocolate. The bitterness of the tea flavour works well with the sweetness of the white chocolate and it’s not so far off from making chocolate hot cross buns. I bought some hot cross buns from my local bakery to compare with and these hot cross buns are just as or even more so, fluffy inside. Perfect warm, with a thin smothering of butter or even red bean or black sesame paste if you’re feeling a bit adventurous.
600g Plain Flour, Extra for Dusting
14g Dried Instant Yeast
100g Caster Sugar
25g Matcha Green Tea Powder
1 1/2 tbsp Mixed Spice
1/8 tsp Salt
250g White Chocolate Chips
50g Unsalted Butter
300ml Full Cream Milk, Room Temperature
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
Flour Paste for the Crosses
90g Plain Flour
4-7 tbsp Water
30g Caster Sugar
1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, caster sugar, matcha green tea powder, mixed spice and salt. Then add in the yeast and stir until mixed well.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Then add in the milk and heat until the mixture is lukewarm.
3. Pour the lukewarm milk and butter mixture into the dry ingredients, along with the beaten eggs and mix slowly until the dough starts to combine then add in the white chocolate chips and mix until the dough forms into a ball.
4. Take the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface, and knead the dough for around 10 minutes or until the dough is nice and smooth. Place the dough into a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for around 1 to 1.5 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
5. Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and knead the dough back to its original size. Split the dough into 12 equal parts (roughly 100g in weight) and roll into a ball. Then place onto a lined baking tray roughly 1 cm apart and allow the dough to rest for another 30 minutes. Once the dough has doubled in size again or near doubled in size, preheat the oven to 170?C.
6. To make the crosses, combine the plain flour and water in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until it’s just runny enough to pipe. Place the paste into a piping bag and pipe onto the buns.
7. Once the dough has doubled in size, place in the oven to bake for around 20 to 25 minutes or until they have browned on the top. Remove from the oven and place the buns onto a cooling rack.
8. To glaze the buns, combine the water and caster sugar into a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Bring to the boil, stirring if necessary so that the sugar dissolves and boil for around 3 to 4 minutes. Brush the glaze onto the warm hot cross buns then serve the buns warm or at room temperature.
I love mixing Western style desserts with Asian flavours and here I found a recipe from Just One Cookbook that combines that creamy and light French Crème Brûlée with Japanese Green Tea flavour for that slightly bitter tea note. Perfect!
Green Tea Crème Brûlée (adapted from Just One Cookbook)
360ml Thickened Cream
360ml Full Cream Milk
1 tbsp Green Tea Powder
5 Large Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar, plus 1 tsp for each serving
1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the thickened cream, full cream milk, and sifted green tea powder and heat over medium heat. Stir the mixture often, until it’s very hot to touch but not boiling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
3. Start to boil a kettle over the stove.
4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks until the mixture becomes pale in colour.
5. Add the milk mixture a bit at a time to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously so that you avoid cooking the eggs.
6. Once it has all been mixed together, place a sieve or a cheesecloth over a large bowl and strain the mixture.
7. Pour the strained mixture into 6 medium sized ramekins, then place the ramekins into a deep baking tray or pan.
8. Pour the boiling water into the baking tray or pan until the water comes up to halfway on the sides of the ramekins. Place the tray in the oven. Bake the crème brûlée for around 30 to 40 minute or until the crème brûlée is set when shaken but the middle still wobbles. Remove the ramekins from the oven and then allow to cool to room temperature before cling wrapping the ramekins and refrigerating for at least 2 hours (up to 3 days).
9. Take out the ramekins at least 30 minutes before caramelising the sugar on top. Then add one teaspoon of the caster sugar on top and move the ramekin around so that the sugar coats the entire top of the crème brûlée and discard any excess sugar. Using a kitchen blowtorch, melt the sugar until the sugar caramelises and browns. Leave the crème brûlée ramekins for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Want a deliciously, warm and sweet treat for the cold weather? These Chinese dumplings or Tang Yuan are perfect for a cold day. The ginger sugar syrup has a lovely subtle ginger flavour, not too overpowering and the oozy black sesame is always a winner in my book. These dumplings can be made with fillings or without, and that’s really the fun of it all. Well, apart from eating it!
Black Sesame Dumplings (Tang Yuan) (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Black Sesame Dough
230g glutinous rice flour
1-2tsp black sesame powder (optional)
200g glutinous rice flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
Black Sesame Filling
60g black sesame seeds
45g caster sugar
45g unsalted butter
1200ml water (reduced to 4 cups after boiling)
180g rock sugar
4 slices ginger
2 pandan leaves (tied in a knot)
Black Sesame Filling
1. Lightly toast the black sesame seeds over medium heat until it’s aromatic. Take off the heat and let it cool.
2. Use a mini food processor to grind the black sesame seeds until it becomes a fine powder.
3. Place the cooled ground black sesame into a saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, and add sugar and butter and stir well to form a thick paste. If it’s too dry, add more butter. Place the paste into a bowl and let cool in the fridge so it’s easier to fill the dumplings later on.
Black Sesame Dough
4. In a big bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour with water (adding the optional black sesame powder too) until it forms a smooth paste and no longer sticks to your hands. Divide it equally into 16-20 balls (the bigger the balls, the easier it is to fill) Note: The coloured dumplings follow similar steps, just add the sugar when adding the water.
5. Flatten each ball in your palm, and then spoon in the black sesame paste and lay it in the middle of the flatten ball. Fold the edge to seal the dumpling. Lightly roll it into a ball shape using both palms, very gently and delicately. Set aside.
6. Boil the water on medium-high heat.
7. Add the ginger, pandan leaves and rock sugar into the water and boil for 10-15 minutes with medium heat. Lower heat to simmer and reduce to about 4 cups of water. Add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough.
8. Heat up another pot of boiling water. Drop the dumplings into the hot boiling water. As soon as they float to the top, transfer them out and into a bowl of the ginger syrup. Turn off heat and serve the black sesame dumplings immediately.
This is one of my favourite baked cheesecake recipes. It has a crunchy hazelnut base, a layer of black sesame filling, a layer of green tea filling, a green tea powder on top and it doesn’t feel very rich like some cheesecakes are. I’m so glad I found this recipe on Oh Sweet Day, who has some amazing looking recipes that I can’t wait to try too.
Green Tea & Black Sesame Cheesecake (by Oh Sweet Day)
Makes: One 8-inch Cake
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Passive Time: 1 hour plus overnight
Hazelnut Shortbread Crust
150g Hazelnuts, Toasted
85g Unsalted Butter (Cold), Cubed
125g Plain Flour
75g Caster Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
Green Tea & Black Sesame Cheesecake
450g Cream Cheese, Softened
210ml Sour Cream, Room Temperature
180g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
4 tbsp Matcha Green Tea Powder (27g)
45g Black Sesame Powder
1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line an 8-inch spring form pan.
2. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and then add to the food processor.
3. Place the unsalted butter, plain flour, caster sugar and salt into the food processor with the hazelnuts. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
4. Place the crust mixture into the lined spring form pan and press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan so it is all combined. Bake the crust for 15 to 18 minutes or until just browned. Set aside to cool. Turn the oven temperature down to 145°C.
5. In a standing mixer, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, caster sugar, vanilla extra until combined.
6. Add in the eggs one at a time. Mixing until just combined before adding the next egg. Blend for another 2 minutes until well combined.
7. Divide the batter into two equal portions. Add two tablespoons of the matcha green tea powder to one and black sesame powder to the other. Mix until well combined.
8. Pour the black sesame batter into the pan. Then pour the green tea batter on top.
9. Position the rack in the centre of the oven and place the cheesecake on it. In a shallow pan, fill it with water and place it on the lower rack in the oven. Bake for an hour, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the centre is wobbly and wet looking. Turn off the oven with the door slightly ajar and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool completely. This may take at least an hour. Remove from the oven and chill in the fridge overnight.
10. Dust the remaining matcha green tea powder on top of the cheesecake just before serving.
I love making desserts that aren’t traditional and pairing Asian flavours with Western desserts. I really wanted to try infusing tea flavours into a Portuguese Egg Tart and couldn’t find any recipes on how to do it. So I had to think on how I would normally infuse a milk mixture with tea. Found a nice Portuguese Egg Tart recipe from Not Quite Nigella that I tweaked a bit with the addition of the jasmine tea. The end result was quite good, the Jasmine Tea flavour is subtle yet distinct as Jasmine Tea can be quite intense and overpowering but here it worked really well actually!
Jasmine Tea Portuguese Egg Tarts (adapted from Not Quite Nigella)
Makes: 12 Tarts
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Passive Time: 2-3 hours
2 Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar
2 tbsp Cornflour
400ml Full Cream Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Sheet Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (300g)
1 tsp Jasmine Tea Leaves
20ml Hot/Boiling Water
1. In a heatproof cup or bowl, pour in the hot/boiling water and then add in the jasmine tea leaves to steep for around 10 minutes.
2. Combine the milk and jasmine mixture in a saucespan and heat over medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover the saucespan and allow the mixture to cool and steep further for around 20 minutes.
3. Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and sifted cornflour into a medium sized bowl and whisk together until smooth.
4. Strain the jasmine milk mixture and using a spoon to press against the tea leaves to extract more flavour from the leaves.
5. Gradually add in the milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
6. Pour the mixture in a saucespan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally so that the the bottom of the mixture doesn’t overcook, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Do not over stir as that can cause the custard to split. Remove from the heat.
7. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling wrap as a skin will form if this is not done. Leave to cool.
8. Grease a 12-hole 80ml muffin tray and preheat the oven to 200°C.
9. Cut the pastry sheet in half, and the place one half of the sheet on top of the other and set aside for 5 minutes.
10. Roll the pastry tightly from the short end and then cut into 12 equal pieces.
11. Lightly flour the surface and roll out each until each is 10cm in diameter and then place the pastry sheets into the greased muffin tray.
12. Remove the cling wrap from the cooled custard and spoon the mixture into the pastry tarts.
13. Place the muffin tray into the oven for around 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry and custard are golden. Leave the tarts in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.