Matcha Coming At Ya

Matcha Coming At Ya!

Sorry for the inelegant title. But it is true. Matcha is trending in the UK. Switch on Great British Bake Off and you will see Matcha flavoured Chiffon Cake, turn over to Crème De La Crème and you will see Matcha flavoured Crème Angliase, even Dinner date has got into the act.

What is Matcha and why is it so popular?

Well, Matcha is a form of Green Tea. However, it is a highly specialised version in that the plants are grown in the shade. This encourages the plants to produce more theanine and caffeine. There are all sorts of health claims made about theanine, which we won’t get into here, as we like to have carefully weighed scientific evidence before we make any such comments ourselves, however, more caffeine seems to be self explanatory.

The fact that the plant is shade grown also accounts for the stunning colour, which makes it such a good ingredient for ice cream, lattes and chais.

Another distinctive feature is the fact that stems and veins are removed during processing, ensuring that this tea is very fine. In fact, it is very popular in its powdered form, which can easily be dissolved into water or milk, creating a smooth textured liquor which is perfect for icing or confectionary. Needless to say, it tastes brilliant if drunk as a cuppa.

In its tea form, Matcha is most famous as being the star of the traditional Chinese and Japanese Tea Ceremonies. The Tang Dynasty first discovered how wonderful Matcha is in its tea leaf form. The Song Dynasty saw the invention of the powdered form, together with the whisking of the tea to form a creamy foam on top. ( Cappuccino eat your heart out- Matcha was the first beverage to have a lovely frothy topping !)

In 1191 Zen Buddhism and Matcha were exported from China to Japan, and have been there ever since. So, we can say, that Matcha tea is very Zen. Because Matcha was enjoyed by the highest echelons in Chinese and Japanese society, it became traditional to only pick the finest buds and to spend many weeks processing the tea by hand. For this reason, Matcha is more expensive than other types of Green Tea. However, you can rest assured that here at Belvedere Tea we do our best to keep our prices low.

Some Matcha aficionados do possess Matcha bowls and whisks. However, our advice is not to worry about such paraphernalia but to concentrate on simply enjoying the flavour. The tea can be served in cups and can be whisked with a small hand whisk or a fork.  The tea is usually stored in a caddy but this is not essential.

Because we love our tea and cakes here at Belvedere Tea, we have included some of our favourite recipes which are greatly enhanced by using Matcha as the key flavour note.

Matcha Pancakes With Chocolate Ganache
Makes 10+ pancakes

Pancakes

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Belvedere Matcha powder
  • a pinch of salt

Method

1.Sift the Matcha powder, salt, and sugar into a large bowl.
2. Blend in the milk, water, eggs, and melted butter.
3. Add half of the flour. Once incorporated, add the rest of the flour.
4. Melt some oil in a frying pan over medium low heat.
5. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the pancake mix into the pan.
6. Cook until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown.
7. Remove from the heat and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Chocolate Ganache
2 cups of cream
1 cup or 175g dark chocolate

Method
1.Heat up the cream in a Bain Marie ( bowl over water) over medium heat.
2. Once the cream begins to warm, add the chocolate and whisk until fully incorporated.
3. Serve on the side as a sauce for the pancakes.

Marvellous Matcha Cake.

Ingredients

Serves: 12

  • 125g plain flour
  • 150g cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons Matcha powder
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g natural yoghurt/cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Matcha icing
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Matcha
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 85g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk

Method
Prep:15min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:55min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Grease and flour 2 – 23cm (9 in) round tins. Sift together the plain flour, cake flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and Matcha powder; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the yoghurt/Cream, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared tins.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out of the tins.
  4. To make Matcha Icing: Sift together icing sugar and green tea powder. In a medium bowl, combine tea mixture with butter, cream cheese, vanilla and milk. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  5. To assemble the cakes: when the cakes are completely cooled, put one layer on a flat serving plate. Spread a thin layer of icing over it. Place the other layer of cake on top, and spread icing to cover the top and sides of cake. Dust with Matcha powder if desired. Serve cold or at room temperature.