I am on a quest…
How to use tea in my baking? Can I (Could I? Should I?) add herbs into all of my recipes? If so, does it add depth to the dish or is the addition merely cosmetic? And: What herbs and teas go best together?
Since I have long been enamored with hibiscus in my garden, I thought it only appropriate to start on this quest with hibiscus tea.
I had tea- and herb-loving company visiting from out of town over Mother’s Day weekend so that seemed like a great time to launch this culinary adventure.
Conclusion: The hibiscus tea gave the lemon bars a wonderful rose coloring, while adding some cranberry-like tartness to the lemon. Lemon verbena, added to the crust, brought nothing to the dish. The crust was made from gluten-free flour and turned out perfectly with no adjustments.
Trinity Rose Tea Shoppe, a locally owned small business, has a wonderful selection of herbal teas. I used their Organic Radiant Red Hibiscus Tea in this recipe.
Isn’t this beautiful? It really is a radiant red!
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried hibiscus tea
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add in the flour and salt, mix until it is just combined. Press the dough evenly across the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Set it aside to cool, while leaving the oven on.
To make the filling, stir the hibiscus tea into the lemon juice and let it sit for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the hibiscus.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice and then blend in the flour.
Pour the filling over the cooled crust and return to the oven and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is set.
Let cool fully before slicing. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.