On Sunday, I had a near-perfect day. I started by baking apple pielettes, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection. Then, I went to Heritage Hall for Tea Sparrow‘s Tea-Off. After tasting (and tasting again) eighteen teas, we walked a block and had dinner at Burgoo, one of my favourite places for comfort food in the city.
The apple pielettes (or pielets, depending on your spelling preference) are going to become a seasonal feature in my kitchen. They’re made with the galette dough from Dorie’s Baking Chez Moi, which she describes as “both sturdy and supple.” Sturdy enough to hold the saucy apple filling, supple enough to fit into muffin cups easily. But when you bite into it, it’s not tough at all. Instead it’s flaky, tender, and delicious.
For the filling, I decided to keep things simple, opting for apples with apricot jam and a little cardamom and cinnamon. I don’t think I need to tell you the filling was as delicious as the crust. Nearer the holidays, I think a version with dried cranberries might be in the works.
I sent some downstairs to my neighbour for her birthday, then sent some more home with my mother. They were my companions for the tea-tasting and for dinner and I believe they had a great day, too.
We certainly enjoyed the seemingly endless cups of tea we had at the Tea-Off. I’ve told you about Tea Sparrow before and the process they use to choose the teas that go into their monthly boxes.
This time, we sampled teas that ran from cocoa and chocolate notes to herbaceous tisanes. I enjoyed most of the teas presented, but I had some favourites:
The last one surprised me, because it doesn’t fit my usual tea preferences, but the flavours were beautifully balanced.
There’s an endless amount of learning in the world of tea. Even though I’ve been drinking it since adolescence, I feel I’m still a novice in many ways. Visiting the Tea and Coffee Show helped and I’m looking forward to learning more at the Vancouver Tea Festival in November.
But, in some ways, I’ve learned most from those for whom tea has become a passion. At the tea-tasting at Tea Sparrow last week, I picked up a lot of interesting information, including these tidbits:
- Some big tea companies pre-stale their tea before it hits the shelves to ensure a uniform flavour.
- There are no real standards for tea, so companies like Tea Sparrow have to do a lot of their own research and testing to determine which teas are free from additives and artificial ingredients.
- The growing popularity of premium teas is prompting larger tea vendors and corporations to cater to this market, making more clean, quality teas available to everyone.
The next step will be nurturing a tea-serving culture that has the standards of coffee barista service – no more lukewarm brewing or 1/2 cup portions of tea leaves in a cup, please!
I came home with a package of Vanilla Honeybush tea, which I happily enjoyed with my remaining apple pielettes. Since I gave so many away, I think I’m justified in making another batch this weekend, don’t you?
You can find the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew’s entries on this recipe here: Apple Pielets.