Summer farmer’s markets are brimming with juicy, sweet stone fruit. While it’s quite delicious to infuse peaches and cherries in cold-brewed batches of tea, we take it one step further with this trio of tea infused stone fruit recipes: Pan-seared Duck Breast with Keemun tea and Cherry sauce, a Lapsang Souchong tea spice blend, and Smoky Almond Peaches and Cream Shortcake. Plus, we’re sharing a bonus recipe for Peach Oolong & Bourbon popsicles that keep happy hour chilly and bright. Consider this your summer menu of tea infused treats.
Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Keemun and Cherry Sauce
This recipe calls for scoring the skin and fat of the duck breasts on the diagonal, and then again in the opposite direction so that you have diamond-shaped cuts that will allow the fat to render out during the cooking. In order to do this easily, make sure that your knife blade is very sharp, or else use a serrated knife. This will allow you to control your cuts—you want to cut through the skin and well into the fat layer, but don’t cut into the meat. Since duck breasts vary greatly in size depending on the type of duck, you will want to judge your final cooking doneness by the temperature of the meat, not by a specific time.
Yield: 6 servings
- 6 boneless duck breast halves, skin scored
- Spice blend (recipe follows)
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped (around 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 3/4 cup double-strength Keemun tea*
- 2 tablespoons ruby or tawny port
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 12 ripe sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped herbs (tarragon and thyme are nice choices)
- 1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter
Wash the duck breasts and trim any excess fat. Pat dry and score the skin and fat, being careful not to cut into the meat. Rub the breasts with the spice blend; depending on the size of the breasts, you will probably have more spice blend than you need. The breasts may be set aside for up to a day at this point, or cooked immediately.
When you’re ready to finish the dish, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot, and place 2 or 3 breasts (depending on the size) in the pan, skin side down. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook until the skin is a rich golden brown, roughly 15 minutes. Turn over and brown the other side of the breast, about 3 more minutes. Set aside, skin side up, on a baking sheet; pour off excess fat and continue with the remaining duck breasts until all of them are well browned. Place the breasts in the oven and cook until desired doneness is reached. Medium rare will be 135 to 140 degrees, but the time will vary by the size and thickness of the breasts.
When the breasts go into the oven, take 1 tablespoon of the duck fat and use it to cook the shallots over medium-high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tea, port, cherries, and chicken stock and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened. Stir in the orange zest, fresh herbs, and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the cold butter and remove the sauce from the heat.
Serve the duck sliced on a diagonal with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with additional fresh herbs.
*Note: Double-strength tea is referring to double the amount of tea leaves used in steeping the tea. The proper water temperature (212 degrees) and timing (four to five minutes) should still be used as if you were steeping the tea as a beverage.
The tea-spice blend used here is quite multipurpose. Consider blending extra to use for other dishes, especially with pork. If you are using sour cherries instead of sweet for this recipe, add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar to your spice blend.
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground anise seed
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons finely ground Lapsang Souchong tea
Mix all ingredients well; store in a sealed jar or tin.
Smoky Almond Peaches and Cream Shortcakes
This recipe was created by Chef Lindsay McSweeney. The biscuits at the base of this dish are very versatile; while you can use them for this dessert, they are also great served sliced and layered with ham and pepper jelly for breakfast. This recipe gains its depth from the pine tar smokiness of a good Lapsang Souchong tea. The original recipe uses amaretti cookies, but any good quality almond cookie could be substituted; you could also use lightly toasted, coarsely chopped almonds or toasted crushed granola.
Yield: 6 servings
- 2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons loose-leaf jasmine tea leaves
- 2 tablespoons loose-leaf Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 ounces amaretto liqueur
- 3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 12 amaretti cookies (6 pairs), crushed
In a medium saucepan, heat cream to scalding over medium heat. Remove from heat and pour 1 cup into a bowl. Add the jasmine tea and cover the bowl. Steep for 4 minutes. While the jasmine tea steeps, add the Lapsang Souchong tea to the remaining 1-1/2 cups cream in the saucepan. Steep for 4 to 5 minutes. At the end of the steep, strain each tea-cream mixture separately, discarding the leaves. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Cover the jasmine cream and refrigerate.
Rinse out the saucepan and add 1/4 cup of the sugar and all the water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes to make a syrup. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Add the amaretto liqueur and the sliced peaches. Set aside to macerate.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with vegetable cooking spray.
When the Lapsang cream has cooled to room temperature, make the biscuits. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of the Lapsang cream, and pour the rest over the flour. With a large wooden spoon, stir the cream into the flour mixture until a rough dough is formed. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add additional cream one tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly until shiny. Pat into a circle about 3/4-inch thick.
With a 2-3/4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 4 biscuits and place them on the prepared baking pan. Take the scraps of the dough and pat them into an oval, then cut out 2 more biscuits, resulting in a total of 6 biscuits. Brush the egg white on the top of the biscuits and bake until light golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
When the jasmine cream is cold, whip with an electric mixer on medium high to form soft peaks.
Assemble the shortcakes. Slice open each biscuit. Brush some of the amaretto peach juice from the macerated peaches on the cut sides. Divide the peaches among the bottom half of each biscuit, then top each with some of the jasmine cream. Tilt the top half of the biscuit on the peaches to form a slant. Sprinkle the crushed amaretti cookie on top of the cream. Serve immediately.
Note that this piece was previously published in Tea Magazine