Friday, August 17, 2012

Tea Caudle: A Recipe



When I stumbled upon the recipe for Tea Caudle at Vintage Cookbook Trials, it seemed like a perfect melding of my love for historical cookery and tea. I had made Medieval Style Caudle before, and this seemed like it could be an improvement thereupon. Still, I thought it funny to see how little this drink had changed in three centuries; the addition of tea is the main difference; other than that, nutmeg just replaces the older saffron.

I made a half recipe, consisting of:

8 ounces Pinot Grigio
2 cups strongly brewed Pu Erh Tuo tea
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of sugar
nutmeg

Into the pot went the yolks, tea, sugar and wine. I beat them up together with a whisk, then kept stirring it over medium heat. The color immediately turned to something like tea with cream.



I expected the mixture to thicken, but even after it began boiling it never did any such thing. I figure it just has too much liquid compared to the egg yolks to get that kind of effect.

I poured a cup of the finished product and sprinkled it with nutmeg. The flavor? Not quite what I expected -- oddly it tastes pretty much like sweet tea with lemon! It's a good way to make a more astringent tea with some extra calories, it seems. (The part of me that dabbles in historical beauty recipes actually wonders if it might make a good face wash...) The nutmeg is not really noticeable -- I made the second cup without it and couldn't taste a difference.
I think if I were to make this again, I would go off-recipe a bit. A nice cream sherry seems like it would better compliment the taste of the tea, than a white wine. I might also consider adding a whole nutmeg to the pot and letting it boil with the rest, to better infuse its taste into the mixture.

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