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Celebrate Passover and Easter With Tea

by Diana Rosen

Tea marbled eggs

The clocks have sprung forward, Spring Equinox has passed, and the two seminal holidays of the season will soon be upon us: Passover, April 6-13 and Easter, April 8.

One food they have in common is the eternal symbol of life, the egg. Cooking eggs in tea is a timeless recipe and especially applicable for the season. After infusing eggs with tea, they can be halved, served whole, or chopped for easy egg salad or additions to macaroni or tuna salads. In the spirit of the season, we suggest our Chinese Green Pekoe from Fujian for a delicate astringent taste, but traditionalists will love our Yunnan Jig tea to make this classic.

TEA MARBLED EGGS
Place 6 eggs in a heavy saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring to a boil then remove the pan and allow to sit for up to 15 minutes or until the eggs are hardboiled. Gently remove them from the water and lightly tap the shells to crack them but do not shell.

Brew the tea in 5 cups of water then cool. Put the brewed, sieved tea into a saucepan, place the cracked eggs in gently, cover, and steep overnight. To serve, remove the shells to reveal the patterned or “marbled” look of the whites. Recipe can easily be doubled.

PASSOVER
Passover commemorates the flight of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. With no time to wait for bread to rise, they took the flat bread with them. This has evolved into intentionally flat bread made simply with water and wheat called matzoh. To honor the flight, leavening is omitted from Passover foods, so desserts can be a challenge. Fortunately, chocolate comes to the rescue!

Chocolate Passover Dessert Ideas:
Chocolate, preferably dark chocolate, is available in products kosher for Passover. It is the perfect ingredient to melt then pour over dried fruit (mangoes, bananas, dried cranberries or cherries). And, what better use for melted chocolate than to be poured over fresh giant strawberries, cleaned and dried. Set chocolate covered fruit on waxed paper and let the chocolate harden, then place on your prettiest tray. Most likely, every macaroon or other confection will be ignored.

Or, add a tablespoon of freshly brewed Earl Grey or your favorite unflavored black tea to the melting chocolate or use the chocolate plain and add a very light dusting of green matcha for a provocative touch to the taste buds. Here’s a way to do this in a way that’s perfect for both Passover and Easter or, dare we say, every day!

MATCHA DUSTED CHOCOLATE BALLS
The best thing about this recipe is that it takes so little time, makes perfect hostess gifts, and their flavor is so intense and intoxicating that you’ll wonder how you celebrated the finale of a lovely Sunday Easter brunch or Passover Seder dinner without them.

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces heavy cream
¼ cup pure maple syrup, A grade
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon matcha for recipe
1 tablespoon matcha for dusting
12 ounces Kosher for Passover bittersweet chocolate or a classic 70% dark chocolate like Valrhona or Lindt is perfect for Easter
Pinch kosher salt
DIRECTIONS:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small saucepan bring the cream to a simmer, over very low heat. Gently pour in the maple syrup and brown sugar and stir slowly with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved; this takes about two minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the matcha and stir until dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.

Chop up the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the heated cream mixture and mix the two together thoroughly. Carefully pour onto the baking sheet, smoothing it out as evenly as possibly (a silicone spatula is great for this.)

Cover loosely with another sheet of parchment paper and cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and shape the balls. Use a teaspoon to scoop out a large chunk and place it into the palm of one hand. Use both hands to smooth it into a ball about 1” in diameter. A little of this richness goes a long way, so don’t make them too large. Repeat until all the chocolate is used; you should have 4 dozen balls.

Set them out on a large platter allowing some room between each. Put the remaining tablespoon of matcha into the bowl of a fine-meshed sieve and lightly tap the side of the sieve to dust the matcha on top of the chocolate. Top each ball with a few grains of kosher or similar rough salt.
NOTE: Tea is a plant and all plants are kosher and kosher for Passover however strictly observant households may want to consult local kashrut experts.

EASTER
Easter breads, sweet and egg-rich, are a popular European addition to the Easter brunch, and leg of lamb or bone-in hams frequently star as the main course. We offer a tea-infused glaze for the ham that will definitely tantalize the taste buds.

HAM WITH TEA-GLAZE ORANGE SAUCE
This is an easy-to-do recipe which uses the same roasting pan for several different steps. Using our Keemun Concerto or our very forgiving Yunnan Jig tea will add just the right counterpoint to the sweetness of the Marmalade. The spiciness of the traditional cloves and the tang of the mustard make for a multi-layered complexity and taste satisfaction. Leftovers can be diced and added as garnish to egg or macaroni salads.

INGREDIENTS for HAM:
1 extra-large fully-cooked bone-in ham (about 16 lbs.), preferably smoked
36 (about) whole cloves
1 cup high-quality orange marmalade
1/4 cup coarse mustard
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups water

INGREDIENTS for SAUCE:
2 cups brewed black tea
2 cups fresh chicken broth (or use low-salt canned stock)
1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon coarse mustard
1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

To prepare the ham:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.
Trim excess fat from upper side of ham, leaving 1/4-inch-thick layer which you should score in a wide diamond pattern (about 1-inch wide.) Insert 1 clove into center of each diamond. Place ham in heavy large roasting pan and bake about 3 ½ hours, or until thermometer inserted into center of ham registers 120°F. (Larger hams may require up to 15 minutes longer cooking time.)

Melt 1 cup marmalade in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup mustard and 2 tablespoons water. Boil until mixture thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon without dripping, about 6 minutes. Set aside.

Transfer cooked ham to a large cutting board, preferably one with grooves in it to catch the juices. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.

Place same roasting pan atop burner at medium heat, then whisk in remaining 1 1/2 cups water into pan, scraping up browned bits from bottom with a spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer pan juices slowly to 4-cup glass measuring cup. Freeze pan juices 15 minutes to harden the fat. You can then spoon off the fat easily and discard. Reserve pan juices.

Line the same pan with foil. Return ham to pan and spoon the marmalade mixture over the ham, using it all. Continue baking the ham until the glaze begins to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Let ham stand 30 minutes.

To prepare sauce:
Brew tea then pour into a heavy medium saucepan. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup orange juice and 3 tablespoons orange marmalade to tea and boil until you have a reduction to 3 cups. (About 10-12 minutes.) Whisk in 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and reserved pan juices. Return to boil. Whisk in arrowroot mixture and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with pepper, as desired; no extra salting will be necessary.

Carve the ham. Pour into a gravy bowl and serve.
NOTE: Cornstarch can be used for arrowroot.