Monday, June 6, 2011

Attempting Thai Tea Ice Pops

This past weekend I decidced to make Thai iced tea in ice pop form. Aside from finding the time for it, I was faced with several challenges. First, I needed a recipe that used black tea, since I didn't have a prepackaged Thai tea mix. Then I needed to figure out the correct amount of sweet milk to hold up to the freezing process. I also had to to figure out if making Thai tea in pop form even made sense at all. Especially since my daughter is obsessed with ice pops, and I don't want her to see these around the house!

After a little bit of research I decided to use this recipe because it used black tea, and also had some interesting spices. I didn't have evaporated milk, but used sweetened condensed milk, star anise, a few cardamom pods, a piece of cinnamon stick, and a blend of Ceylon, Assam, and Keemun teas that I had on hand. I made about 3 cups of tea, not the 1 cup that this recipe calls for. So I added a little bit more of the ingredients. I boiled the water, steeped the tea and spices for 5 minutes, and then strained into a pitcher to cool. Once it cooled down I added some of the condensed milk. It tasted sweet but not as sweet as it should, so I added a little bit of sugar. The result tasted more like a sweet chai, and not Thai iced tea, but I think it's because of the cardamom.

I have to admit that I was a little afraid of the sweetened condensed milk. I've never worked with it before, and it was very sticky and, well, sweet. It reminded me of a caramel. It was so sweet that I didn't want to use too much of it. I was also hesitant to use cardamom pods, as they are very strong. But I decided to get crazy and just go with it. I felt a little like a mad scientist, just adding a dash here, and a spoonful there. I filled the molds and popped it in the freezer and went on with my day. I checked on it a few hours later, when the kids were ready for bed.

The end result wasn't bad, but it didn't have the familiar taste I was looking for. There was a bitter bite of tea, and a dry feeling on the tongue. The star anise gave a nice hum to the flavor. But it needed to be a little creamier and definitely sweeter. My fear of condensed milk was the main culprit. A great first try though. The pops are still refreshing and definitely taste like tea, even if it is more like masala chai. I think next time I need be more generous with the condensed milk, and sugar. I'll also use less cardamom. I may try to add tamarind if I can find it, and maybe vanilla.

It was a fun first attempt! Not exactly what I was going for, but it gave me the confidence to try again. This may open the door for other tea ice pop ideas... 

1 comment:

  1. Trial and error often leads to success. =)

    This looks intriguing. I've never had these, but it sounds like the kind of thing I could enjoy making myself...especially because then I could make them to taste (i.e. less sweet!).