I’ve had a steady interest in coconuts this hot, hot spring and summer--mostly in the form of cold, refreshing coconut water. It’s an extremely good source of potassium. After sampling a variety of different brands (some are so much better than others), my eating local sensibilities felt a little disheartened. Reading the labels, most all the coconuts are sourced from Thailand--of course! This makes Thailand my top travel desire of late. It also makes me grateful for my friends at Arbor Teas, who just introduced an organic and fair trade certifed Thai Iced Tea Blend to kick off National Iced Tea month. Jeremy and Aubrey worked pretty diligently to find the perfect blend of strong black tea, vanilla bean, cardamom, and anise. Best of all, their tea blend does not contain artificial dyes, unlike most commercial Thai Tea blends, which are shockingly orange.
Feeling lucky to find a young green Thai coconut at my food Co-Op and remembering a Thai Tea recipe in Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar, I was inspired to make this parfait with Arbor Teas newest blend. The parfait base is a creamy gelatin, cloud-like mix of Thai tea, dulce de leche and tamarind, which is layered with fresh coconut curd and a crispy almond topping. It’s a fairly decadent dessert, but still light and not overly filling.
Thai Tea Parfait
adapted from Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar
½ cup boiling water (100 g)
2 TBS organic loose Thai tea leaves(10 g)
1 gelatin sheet (½ tsp powdered gelatin can be substituted for the sheet gelatin)
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk (75 g)
1 TBS dulce de leche (16 g)
1 tsp tamarind paste ( g)
¼ tsp kosher salt (1 g)
⅓ cup heavy cream (75 g)
2 TBS sour cream (35 g)
1. Steep the tea leaves in ½ cup hot water for 5 minutes. You’ll want a fairly strong steep since the flavors will get somewhat muted with addition of the cream and by serving chilled.
2. Meanwhile bloom the gelatin sheet by soaking it in a bowl of cold water for about 2 minutes, or until softened. Gently squeeze excess water from softened gelatin sheet. (If using powdered gelatin, bloom by sprinkling it evenly onto the surface of 2 TBS cold water. Let rest for 3-5 minutes until dissolved.)
3. Once tea has steeped, strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and while the tea is still hot, add the bloomed gelatin, stirring until fully dissolved. Whisk in the condensed milk, dulce de leche, tamarind paste, and salt until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
4. Chill this bowl by placing it in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Whisk every 5 minutes or so (for about 20-30 minutes) until the gelatin just starts to become rather thick. Don't allow the
mixture to set fully, but allow it to get thick enough to be able to fold in the whipped cream from the next step below and still have it hold its shape a bit.
5. While the base is setting, lightly oil 4 (2-ounce) silicone molds or, if not using molds, set out 4 ramekins or jelly jars.
6. In a mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and sour cream until it holds medium-soft peaks. If the whipped cream is ready before the parfait base has set, put it in the fridge until ready to use.
7. Once the ideal consistency of the parfait base is achieved, use a spatula to fold in the whipped cream until completely smooth and no white streaks remain. Pour into the prepared molds (or jars), and carefully tap on the countertop a few times to remove excess air bubbles. Freeze for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
9. Pop the frozen parfait base out of their molds (if using, or skip this step if using jars). Thaw before serving, either overnight in the fridge or for 3 hours at room temperature.
10. To serve, dollop and sprinkle alternating layers the coconut curd and almond crisp over the parfait base.
makes 2 cups
1 young Thai green coconut (¾ cup commercially prepared coconut cream can be substituted in a pinch)
1 cup sugar
¼ vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
½ cup unsalted butter, cold
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1 gelatin sheet
1. Cut the top off the coconut and drain the water into a blender. Use a spoon to scoop all of the white coconut meat from the inside and add this to the blender. Blend on high speed until homogenous.
2. Add ¾ cup of this fresh coconut cream to a small saucepan along with the sugar and vanilla bean. Reserve the remainder of the coconut cream for another use. Set the blender canister aside, without washing, as you’ll need it again in the final steps below.
3. Turn heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally until sugar is melted and steam starts to rise off the surface, as it comes to a simmer.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole eggs and egg whites. Add a bit of the warm coconut cream mixture to the eggs and stir to temper. Keep adding more coconut cream to the eggs, a bit at a time, stirring all the while, until all of it is fully incorporated. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking until it thickens and registers 180°F, approximately 12 minutes.
5. Meanwhile bloom the gelatin sheet by soaking it in a bowl of cold water for about 2 minutes, or until softened. Gently squeeze excess water from softened gelatin sheet. (If using powdered gelatin, bloom by sprinkling it evenly onto the surface of 2 TBS cold water. Let rest for 3-5 minutes until dissolved.)
6. Once the coconut cream mixture has thickened, remove the vanilla bean pod and pour it into the canister of a blender. Blend on high tossing in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the bloomed gelatin. Blend a few seconds more until it dissolves.
Pour the coconut curd into a jar and let cool in fridge for several hours (or overnight) to allow it to thicken before using.
makes about 2 cups
2 TBS slivered almonds (15 g)
¼ cup almond butter (55 g)
½ cup feuilletine (40 g) (though not nearly comparable, crisp rice or corn flake cereal could be substituted, if need be)
3 TBS confectioners' sugar (30 g)
½ tsp kosher salt (2 g)
1½ TBS organic Thai black tea leaves (8 g)
scant pinch of citric acid (0.25 g)
1. Heat the oven to 325°F.
2. Spread the almonds evenly in a pie plate (or similar oven-safe dish) and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
3. Roughly chop the nuts and combine with the almond butter, feuilletine, confectioners' sugar, salt, organic Thai black tea leaves, citric acid, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until evenly distributed.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.