Sunday, June 13, 2010

summer afternoon tea

Summer afternoons are bliss, especially lazy Sunday afternoons when you can sit on a sunny patio (made a bit too sunny by my over-pruning), chatting with a friend and sipping cool iced tea.

Cranberries are certainly more fall than summer, but it's clean-out-the-freezer season around here. I've had some beautiful cranberries from the farmer's market sitting in my freezer since last fall, so I figured it was about time to use them. And cranberry iced tea seemed like a perfect accompaniment for gianduja ice cream sandwiches. Not the most traditional afternoon tea menu, but lovely for a sunny summer afternoon.

cranberry iced tea

make cranberry simple syrup:
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Bring ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Simmer until berries pop, about 15 minutes. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, pour cranberry mix into sieve, and let sit for about an hour. Chill syrup.

make tea:
Boil 2 cups water. Pour over four bags English Breakfast tea. Steep for five minutes, remove tea bags. Add 2 cups cold water. Chill.

Mix tea with 1/2 cup syrup (or to taste). Serve over ice.

gianduja ice cream sandwiches

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3 T. ground hazelnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
7 oz. unsalted butter, room temp.

In the bowl of a stand mixer w/ paddle attachment, stir together sugar, flour, hazelnuts, baking soda, and salt. Add butter, a little at a time, and mix on low speed until the dough just begins to come together. Form the dough into two balls; flatten these into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for two hours.

Heat oven to 350 F. Roll chilled dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thick. Cut w/ round cookie cutter. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 12-15 minutes.

ice cream:
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
4 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
5 egg yolks

Rub off as much of the hazenuts' papery skin as you can. Grind the nuts finely in a food processor. Warm the milk, 1 cup cream, sugar and salt. Remove the mixture from the heat, add ground hazelnuts, cover and let steep for an hour. Pour the hazelnut-infused milk through a fine-mesh sieve and squeeze nuts to get as much liquid as possible out. Set milk aside.

Warm the remaining cream. Add to chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely smooth. Whisk yolks in a medium bowl. Re-warm the hazelnut milk mixture in a medium saucepan. Pour slowly into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour this egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Pour this mixture into the chocolate through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir the mixture, and set the bowl into an ice bath to cool. Cool the mix thoroughly in the fridge, then freeze in an ice-cream maker.

To assemble the ice cream sandwiches: Before assembly, chill the cookies in the freezer. The ice cream should be firm, but still malleable. Place a scoop of ice cream on one cookie, top with a second, and push down gently. Put the assembled sandwiches on a baking tray and let them firm up in the freezer before serving.


  1. Celestial Seasonings used to make an herbal tea called "Cranberry Cove" which I still remember fondly (they don't make it anymore) because it wasn't all in-your-face hibiscus-y like their Zingers. And once I bought a (supposedly) cranberry-flavored black tea, but it was only mildly fruity and thus disappointing. I never thought about making a simple syrup from fruit and adding it to my iced black tea; I think I'll try that with last year's raspberries shoved to the back of the freezer!

  2. sarah, i've been using all of my forgotten fruit for this purpose. pretty tasty and rids you of the guilt.