lots of tea! (lots of tea). I love tea, I love drinking it, serving it, making pastries to go with it, and when it comes to English tea I have it pretty much down. This year however I'm looking to play out more with green teas.
They still work well with my usual tea service, but felt like it would also be fun to try bringing in some new tea traditions to the party. On the way are some first pieces toward a small Japanese tea set (and people thought I had run out of tea-wear to collect!), and today I started taking a few baby steps into the world of wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, often made specifically to go with green tea. Something a little different from my usual cream tea with killer scones and home made clotted cream every now and then.
A while back we were lucky enough to try a few different kinds of wagashi from a wonderful shop in LA, and some others from Minamoto Kitchoan in Mitsuwa to get a taste for them. While I' await a big old book on the subject to drop on my doorstep, this weekend I took to the internet for some recipes and got my hands sticky trying to make a type of wagashi called nerikiri.
The first step was to make a batch of sweet white bean paste, the second, to keep half the bean paste for fillings, the other to create the neriki, a kind of marzipan texture dough which shapes and colors like a dream. The result just like my first scones was a little spotty, but life is all about practice!
The whole process took somewhere over 3 hours, so it's not something to whip up the day you plan to serve them, but the bean paste and dough are freezable, so possible to keep on hand for faster making when the mood hits.
Typically served with matcha ( powdered green tea), the sweetness of the cakes is to play well with the bitterness of the tea, so if you go towards the top end of the sweetness scale from the online recipe, it's dialed right up to one hundred. In the future for full leaf green teas like I usually drink, I think I'll dial the sugar back a little.
kashigata to see how that went (not brilliantly).
Certainly looking forward to learning and trying more when my book comes. It would be smashing to bring a bit of the surroundings to the tea plate this summer drinking tea outdoors. Next up "jelly" type wagashi. The retro hostess in me can't resist a pretty treat that wobbles!