FOR MY FRIEND JAMA GULAID
When I was in landscape design school, a friend of mine from Kenya introduced me to Kenyan spiced tea, Chai. To be honest, I didn’t know that Chai is Swahili for tea. I’ve always thought of it in the Asian kind of way. Jama brought with him some fresh black tea he had bought from a tea plantation on his recent trip to Mombasa and initiated me in the Kenyan chai culture.
Ok, let me just say, for the tea lovers out there, there’s tea and then there’s Kenyan Tea. Kenya is home to some of the best quality black tea in the world and ranks first for tea production and exportation followed by China and India.
Jama makes his chai by boiling milk with the spices cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and then brewing the tea in this spiced milk. Oh my word, is the only suitable phrase to explain the deliciousness that is this tea.
The combination of Jama’s spiced tea and a recipe for poached pears with espresso caramel sauce I had bumped in to a few years ago from Slouvaki For The Soul got me thinking about a spiced coffee concoction. What goes best with those warm spices? Bay leaf. Thus the Spiced Espresso Caramel Sauce with Bay leaf was born.
Bay leaf is such an old faithful both in the garden and in the kitchen. It’s one of those herbs that can be used in various cuisines and pairs very well with both sweet and savoury dishes. The bold aroma of fresh organic Bay however is very hard to come by in my neck of the woods, so I grow it instead
The flavours of the bay leaf, the coffee and the warm spices in this creamy, luscious caramel sauce over the pears are so delicious it should be illegal.
For the Poached Pears
5 Beurre Bosc pears
¾ cup of Muscovado sugar
4 cups of water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Cinnamon quill
2 fresh leaves of Bay leaf herb
For the sauce
½ cup of water
1 ¼ cups of Muscovado Sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 fresh leaves of bay leaf herb
1 cinnamon quill
2 cadarmom pods
1 cup warm pouring cream (not whipping cream)
½ cup of espresso/filter coffee
Slightly bruise the cardamom pods with the back of a wooden spoon, dry roast them in a hot pan together with the cinnamon quills and cloves for a minute to awaken the essential oils. Remove from pan and set aside.
1. Place the sugar, water and vanilla in a pot over a low heat.
2. Add the bay leaf and cinnamon quill
3. Stir occasionally until all the sugar has melted and a light syrup forms.
4. Place the pears in the poaching syrup and cook for about 15-20 min
5. Pears are ready when a toothpick easily pierces the flesh.
Meanwhile combine water, sugar and salt in a pot over medium heat.
Add the vanilla and the remaining herbs and spices.
Gently stair with a wooden spoon until the liquid comes to a boil, about 4 minutes,
Then simmer over low heat until a syrup is formed.
Remove from the heat and very gently add the cream.
Stir it in thoroughly ensuring it is mixed well.
Stir through the espresso and mix again.
Set aside. The herbs will continue to infuse the sauce.
Allow the pears to cool slightly before serving them drizzled with the sauce.
Recipe adapted from Souvlaki For The Soul