Growing up my father would often make tea for us after dinner. He would bring in a tray with black or chamomile tea and a plate of cookies as a little ritual where we would watch some show or other on tv or just sit and talk. For many, many years I only thought of tea as those little teabags with earl grey tea or those ghastly fruit teas at breakfast buffets in hotels.
It wasn't until I was in London with my father at age 13 I discovered the immense world of tea and really fell in love with the many, many varieties of not just proper tea, but also the herbal infusions such as rooibos and jasmine.
I was recently served a cup of Rooibos tea from Rare Tea Company that tasted like warm apricot nectar mixed with honey and a slight hint of spice. It was so lovely I immediately knew I wanted to make something with that combination. In order for the dessert to be not just sweet on sweet, I caramelised the honey until quite dark, almost bitter, to counter the sweetness of both the apricots and the cake it self.
The semi-freddo on it's own was lovely, but with the rooibos and apricots it was every bit as delicious as I had hoped.
I caramelised some pine nuts and crumbled over the cake as well for a little crunch. I would think toasted almond slivers, chopped pistachios or maybe even dark chocolate would work well, too.
Apricot rooibos upside down cake with burnt honey semi-freddo
Burnt honey semi-freddo
1 egg yolk
250ml heavy cream
Heat the honey in a frying pan over medium high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes, until it caramelizes and darkens. The flavor should be slightly bitter, dark caramel with almost an umami note. Remove from heat, but keep warm and liquid.
Whisk sugar with egg and yolk in a bowl over water bath until pale and thickened. Fold in honey until fully incorporated and remove from heat.
While cooling the honey custard whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the cream into the custard, then the rest of the cream. Transfer the mixture to either 6 individual silicone moulds or a larger container and freeze until set.
Apricot rooibos upside down cake
40g salted butter
2 tsp. Bourbon
8 apricots, pitted and quartered
125g salted butter
3 large eggs
225g all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
125ml milk3 bags rooibos tea
Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
Melt sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, sprinkle over the sugar and cook until the sugar is melted. Mix in the bourbon, be careful as it will bubble up. Pour into a prepared, greased 20cm/8inch cake pan and arrange the apricots on top of the caramel. Set the cake pan aside.
Heat milk to just below boiling point and allow the tea bags to steep for 5-6 minutes.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed, until pale and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce speed to low, remove the teabags from the milk and mix in first half the milk, then half the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining milk and flour.
Pour the batter over the apricots and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes to set the caramel. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and quickly invert it onto a plate.
Tap the bottom of the cake pan to release the apricots and remove the pan.
Serve warm with the burnt honey semi-freddo.