Tea Time: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Desserts with Tea

When we’re not on the clock or stopping for a quick macchiato, you can be sure to find us sipping on a cup of tea: English-style Earl Grey, Japanese genmaicha green, Chinese oolong, assam from India, Moroccan Mint—you name it, we love it.

 
 

We can’t start our day properly without at least a cup (or two) of tea. Now, we’re not here to tell you about the health benefits of tea, but the following quote is reason enough to start drinking it:

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”

― William Ewart Gladstone

Tea is a natural match for something small and sweet: think of afternoon tea in England—never consumed without a plate of scones and jam; when you’re served a pot of frothy mint tea after dinner in Morocco, expect to see petit fours on the tray. In Japan, small sweet treats are served before a traditional matcha tea ceremony. Just like our cheesecakes were a fantastic pair with some Italian dessert wines, lots of our desserts on the MAK pair amazingly well with some teas. Come take a taste trip around the world with us!

 

Flourless Chocolate Torte // Matcha (Japan)

We didn’t save the most decadent pairing for last because, well, it’s an incredible match. The first bite of a Flourless Chocolate Torte is intense: rich, dense chocolate, followed by even more chocolate without the weight of a typical chocolate cake. Gilt-free, gluten-free, and delicious, this is a guaranteed favorite.

Matcha isn’t only a healthy coffee alternative, but a delicious and warming beverage that’s the trendy thing to drink right now in the U.S. It’s a special type of green tea with a laborious process—tea leaves are shaded from direct sunlight to boost chlorophyll levels (which results in a darker, richer color) and increase amino acids. They are then harvested, dried, and stone-ground into a delicate powder. The real difference between matcha and regular tea is that you’re drinking the actual leaves and getting even more nutrients from the leaves in the process.

The result (when made correctly) is a rich, grassy, naturally sweet, and sometimes astringent beverage that begs for something even more decadent: a slice of Flourless Chocolate Torte is just the solution. The matcha cleanses your palate between bites while the chocolate in the cake balances out the astringency from the intense grassy flavors of the tea. Sift one teaspoon of matcha powder on the entire slice for a more adventurous pairing!

  • Brewing Instructions

    • Sift 1-2 tsp. into a traditional matcha bowl
    • Add 2-3 ounces of 185°F water
    • Whisk with chasen (bamboo whisk) in a zig-zag motion until frothy
    • Enjoy straight from bowl!
  • Where to buy

 

 

Four-High Carrot Cake // Chai Masala (India)

Just looking at the name, you know the Four-High Carrot Cake is larger-than-life—and it is in the best of ways. Layer after layer of moist carrot cake between smooth cream cheese icing studded with raisins, walnuts, this will definitely change the way you think about carrot cake.

Everyone has had Chai tea at their favorite Indian spot—sometimes great, most of the time, average. When we were testing our own Chai Masala recipe, we found out that the type of tea and spices used along with the specific preparation made a huge difference in the final product.

Authentic Chai Masala uses a strong, malty, and dry Assam tea from India along with a mixture of fragrant spices: cloves, ginger, mint, cinnamon, and cardamom. Brewed together with a splash of milk and frothed several times by increasing the heat, our chai recipe has an intense, spicy flavor that is tempered by only a touch of milk.

Pair a warm cup of Chai Masala on a cold winter day with our Four-High Carrot Cake for a real treat: the rustic texture of the cake and icing matches beautifully with the masala spices in the tea while the raisins and walnuts get a boost of flavor from the cinnamon and cloves. A fall or winter afternoon just got much more comforting!

Recipe/Brewing Instructions

Ingredients

  • 1 knob ginger
  • 6 mint leaves, julienned
  • 2 cloves
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 teaspoons Assam tea

Liquids

  • 2C water
  • 3/4C milk

Method

  1. Mince ginger
  2. Julienne mint: roll mint leaves together and slice thinly
  3. Grind cloves, cardamom, cinnamon with mortar and pestle into powder
  4. Bring water to a boil, add spice powder
  5. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Add Assam tea to boiling water, let tea boil for one more minute
  7. Add milk and bring to the boil (keep your eyes on the pot for this step as the mixture will boil over)
  8. When the foam rises to the top, lower the heat. Repeat 3 - 4 times. 
  9. Remove from heat, let the mixture steep and develop flavor for 1 - 2 minutes depending on how strong you like the tea
  10. Strain mixture into bowl or pot with spout
  11. Slowly from a minimum of 6-inches (this aerates the tea and cool it down)

Chewy Marshmallow Bar with Brown Butter + Sea Salt // Genmaicha (Japan)

Forget those ‘homemade-out-of-the-box’ rice krispie bars you had growing up—our Chewy Marshmallow Bar leaves those in the dust. Gluten free, crispy rice puffs are folded in homemade marshmallow cream and mini marshmallows with browned butter and sea salt to create this dangerously delicious treat.

Genmaicha is a Japanese tea blend, primarily made of inexpensive Bancha leaves and rice kernels which are added while the tea leaves are drying; during this process, the kernels become crispy and some even pop open, looking like popcorn kernels—this is why you sometimes see it called popcorn tea. Nutty, sweet, and light, genmaicha was once considered a cheap peasant tea but is now gaining popularity as an intro to Japanese tea. This very calming and satisfying tea is a daily drinker for us at the MAK.

Drink a cup of our favorite Den’s Tea ‘Extra Green’ Genmaicha while snacking on a Chewy Marshmallow Bar. You’ll see that the combination of sweetness and nuttiness from the tea compliments the browned butter while the astringent and grassy finish cuts some sweetness from the mini marshmallows—one of our most nostalgic treats just got even sweeter!

Brewing instructions

  • 4 oz. water at 212°F, 2 grams of tea, steep for 30 seconds

Where to buy

Meyer Lemon Bar // Moroccan Mint Tea

Next time you take a trip to Morocco, make sure to bring a refreshing sweet treat to accompany the many cups of mint tea you’ll be having. The Meyer Lemon Bar, filled with a lively and refreshing Meyer lemon curd on a buttery shortbread crust is something that should accompany every pot of mint tea.

During our trip to Marrakech, we expanded our tea horizons with the never-ending pots of mint tea that were served to us from the minute we stepped into our hotel. Sweet, minty, and slightly smoky, mint tea in Morocco is completely different and more complex than just boiling mint and water with some gunpowder green tea. Check out an authentic mint tea recipe that we learned on our trip!

Since Moroccan mint tea is traditionally sweetened quite heavily, our Meyer Lemon Bar provides the perfect counterpoint to that sweetness with a tangy and refreshing lemon curd, while the buttery shortbread crust is cut by the smoky gunpowder green tea. Make those brutally hot summer days a little cooler with this sweet pairing!

Brewing Instructions

Where to buy

  • Everywhere you go (seriously, everywhere) in Morocco

Big Cheese Brulee // Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

Our Big Cheese Brulee is tangy, decadent, and above all, smooth. The creamiest layer of cream cheese lingers on and really shines with a ‘cuppa’ Vithanakande Ceylon from Sri Lanka. Truth be told, any black tea would work; but we prefer a tannic, rich, and naturally fruity Ceylon which works wonders with this classic NY-style cheesecake.

Here’s where the Vithanakande Ceylon from Harney & Sons comes in: it’s a classic Ceylon with notes of citrus, spice, and caramel all in one cup with a complex aroma. Challenging on its own for sure, but the tannins in this tea help to cleanse the palate of the smooth cream cheese. Have a sip between bites to make the following bites as magical as that first bite!

Brewing Instructions

  • 212°F for 4-5 minutes

Where to buy

Remember that these are just our recommended pairings—if you find an even sweeter pairing, send us an email in our contact section. Visit us at the MAK or check out our friends at Sweet Street to get our products and start pairing them with your favorite tea!