Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spiced Pear Black Tea & Honey Granita

I really wanted ice cream! I blame this mainly on Kat, from Our Adventures in Japan, whose post on a visit to Arashiyama had many wonderful pictures including one featuring an oh so delectable "soft cream" cone. After going through an intense pre-blogging ice cream making phase a few months ago (Chai, White Chocolate-Cranberry-Pistachio, Coconut, Mango Sorbet, etc), I had not had the ice cream maker out in awhile so I was determined to make some this weekend. Of course we always know what happens to the best laid plans... This was not my best or most memorable 4th of July weekend as I have been battling yet another round of bronchitis and although I stayed home with windows closed and air con on, the firecracker smoke in the cul-de-sac near my house managed to aggravate it even more. With a fun and attractive wheeze of a 90 year old emphysema patient, I finally decided I better go to the doctor on Saturday. (This is a big step for me because I hate doctors and I especially hate needles and generally the first thing they want to do is stick a steroid shot in my butt--yikes! ) So I went and got my "big girl shot". Why do I call it a "big girl shot"? Basically it started when a good friend was lecturing me on my fears and needing to go to the doctor and said "Deb, you just have to be a big girl, suck it up and get your big girl shot!" I couldn't help but laugh and the term stuck. OK, so a "big girl shot", a breathing treatment and three prescriptions later, I was waiting for my prescriptions to be filled and was hanging out at the grocery store, ready to buy my milk and heavy cream. While wandering the aisles, sans the all important grocery list, I managed to pick up most of the things I needed; including a CPK Garlic Chicken Pizza (hey--I got a big girl shot today, I can have frozen pizza for dinner if I want!), juice, Gatorade (turns out they thought I was a bit dehydrated) and the stuff to make the next Barefoot Blogger post due this week. And then I drug my steroid-full and sore-bottomed body (Sorry-is that TMI?) back home, where I suddenly realized I FORGOT THE MILK AND CREAM!

Flash forward to today. I am feeling much better and I really considered going to the store to buy my ice cream ingredients--after all I had the ice cream recipe from David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop all picked out and everything. Then I decided that it wouldn't be very environmentally responsible to waste the gas to go to the store just for that. Normally I could easily walk the 2 mile round trip but the lungs were not having it today. That left me with making a sorbet, frozen yogurt or something with coconut milk--not the soft creamy treat I was salivating over but hey--gotta make due. In looking through my ice cream cook books I ended up with this recipe for Tea Granita from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book by Bruce Weinstein. It seemed fitting since I have been so tea obsessed lately and bonus--I had all the ingredients! After debating a bit about which tea to use, I ended up with a Republic of Tea: Spiced Pear Black Tea and chose to use honey as the sweetener--a variation mentioned in the book.
Tea Granita
The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, Bruce Weinstein
Makes about 1 Quart
3 cups water
6 tea bags
2/3 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
Bring the water to a boil, remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add the sugar (or you can substitute honey for the sugar as I did), stirring until it completely dissolves. Refrigerate until cold. Add the lemon juice.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. (Mine took about 25 minutes) When finished, the granita will be soft and have the consistency of a sorbet. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze to harden. To serve, scrape the top of the granita with a heavy ice cream spade or scoop, to create shaved ice crystals. Serve in small, chilled dishes or hollowed out lemon rinds.

A few minutes into the ice cream maker

About 1/2 way done

Done and ready to put in the freezer

In its soft, pre-granita state-still very tasty!

The flavors of the tea; pear with cinnamon, cloves and ginger came out nicely. I ended up leaving out the lemon and don't think with the tea I chose that it needed it. I used a wonderful local honey from Big Island Bees, that I picked up at the KCC Farmers Market. For this varietal, the bees consume Wilelaiki Blossoms (a.k.a. Christmasberry Blossoms), giving it subtle spicy notes that would complement the flavors in the tea. The book pointed out that you can use any any tea, including herbal blends and that the sugar can be increased or decreased by up to 1/3 cup depending on the tea and your taste. I would definitely make this again and try different teas as it is good, refreshing and super easy. It would look beautiful in the carved lemon rinds as suggested but that seemed like way too much effort today!

And oh yes, good as this was, I will still be making that ice cream!


  1. Oh my, I'm glad to hear you are feeling better, having bronchitis is definitely not fun! This granita looks delicious! I want to try out my ice cream maker soon, I may try this :) p.s. I think I have the same cup :)

  2. Hope you get well soon. Your granita looks very refreshing.

  3. Now THAT look about as refreshing as you can get! Get better soon, and the doctor orders 2 scoops for you!

  4. Kat, Jenn and Cakelaw,

    Thanks all for the well wishes! I am feeling MUCH better! The granita is both delicious and refreshing. I have some lemon green tea I want to try making it with next.

  5. Kat,
    I got the cup in Japan--when I used to travel there for work, I brought home a lot of blue and white dishes and such--so I am not surpised you have it too!

  6. I have a lot of blue and white dishes too :)


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