Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Green Tea Pie

I spent some time trying to create a version of the excellent Earl Grey pie from my recent visit to LA's The Pie Hole. They explained the architecture of the pie to me: tea-infused white chocolate top, chocolate ganache on the bottom. It sounded different enough to be a good subject for experimentation. The white chocolate filling was the most intriguing part to me. As I ate the pie, I didn't think that the filling was a custard, but I couldn't figure out on my own what alternative made sense.

I decided to make a green tea pie; in my advanced age, I thought that's what I had eaten in LA. I had never tried this form of infusion before. I was a little skeptical of boiling tea in cream, but I gave it a try. To my surprise, after a minute the tea slowly started to turn green. I added two tea bags because I didn't want to boil the cream for too long. In retrospect, I should have added more tea bags for a stronger tea flavor.

The ganache was a classic recipe, with white chocolate, cream, corn syrup, and butter. I decided to whip it both for structural integrity and texture. Even after an extraordinary amount of whipping, the filling still wasn't quite stiff enough to stand on its own. A little less cream and a little more corn syrup probably would have helped. I did see the mixture turn more green as it mixed; the tea particles must settle quickly.

I blind-baked a crust and coated the bottom with some dark chocolate ganache that was left over from my earlier cake.

Here is the finished pie. To be sure that it didn't run as I ate it, I put it in the refrigerator. Given the huge amount of dairy, refrigeration was probably appropriate in any case. I ate a piece for breakfast the next morning. It was interesting, but not quite as satisfying as I had hoped. A little more tea flavor would help; the tea really cuts the fat in the cream. I think that letting the pie thaw a little before eating would make the texture less dense.

Overall, it was an interesting experience. This technique is similar to that of green tea ice cream, which I am now interested to try. A little white chocolate would be a great addition to the ice cream. And I still look forward to recreating the decadent richness of that pie from LA.

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