The powdered Chinese green tea favoured by the Southern Song dynasty arrived on the shores of Japan in the late twelfth century, carried by the monk Eisai Zenji who had returned home from studying Chan Buddhism. After two hundred years of being a purely religious beverage, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa secularised the performance of making and drinking tea and it slowly evolved into the ritualistic ceremony we are familiar with today. Whilst nearly every country the world over now drinks the later-developed steeped or infused tea, the powdered green tea known to us as matcha has remained a singularly Japanese drink, even being lost to the Chinese during the Mongol invasion. The differences between the two types of tea are remarkable, to the extent that even some of the most enthusiastic of Western tea drinkers can sometimes find the deep green flavour and slight bitterness of matcha difficult or off-putting. We’ve found that the easiest way to introduce the new and perhaps unexpected flavour of matcha to people is through desserts or baked goods such as these delicate, crisp tuile biscuits. The buttery tuile batter and drizzle of rich, silky white chocolate help to balance out the mild astringent taste of the tea to create a biscuit perfect for snacking on or for accompanying a cup of your favourite brewed tea.
- 1 large egg white
- 50g plain flour
- 55g caster sugar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 3g matcha tea powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5g black sesame seeds
- 50g white chocolate
- Start by melting the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat; once fully melted, set the pan to one side and leave it to cool slightly. Preheat your oven to 180ºC, or 160ºC if you’re using a fan assisted oven.
- Next, lightly beat the egg white and pass it through a small sieve or tea strainer into a large bowl, then add the flour, sugar, salt and matcha powder. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to create a thick paste, then slowly drizzle in the cooled melted butter, stirring the mixture continuously. Continue to stir the batter until it is very smooth and all of the butter is incorporated, then stir in the sesame seeds and cover the bowl with clingfilm, and leave to rest for thirty minutes at room temperature.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining with greaseproof paper, then- using a round template- draw 5cm circles with a pencil onto the paper, leaving 2-3cm between each (in case the tuile mixture spreads slightly whilst cooking). Place half a teaspoon of batter into the centre of each circle then, with the back of the spoon, spread it out to fill the circle neatly.
- Bake the tuiles in the preheated oven for around six minutes- the edges of the biscuits should be barely starting to colour by this point. Remove the tray from the oven and then using a palette knife, quickly lift the hot biscuits one at a time onto a rolling pin and allow them to conform to its curved surface while they cool. Repeat this process until you have used up all of your batter mixture.
- Whilst your tuiles are cooling and setting up, break your white chocolate into small pieces and melt it gently in a bowl set over simmering water, stirring constantly. When completely fluid and smooth, pour the chocolate into a small piping bag and drizzle it in as fine a line as possible over the now crisp biscuits. If you don’t feel confident with a piping bag, you can dip a fork into the chocolate and use that to randomly drizzle a pattern over the tuiles. Once the chocolate is fully set the biscuits are ready to serve, any leftover tuiles store well in an airtight container for up to four days.
Makes approximately 60 tuiles.