I consider myself a moderately serious tea drinker. On a scale of one to ten, one being a Walmart-brand tea bag dunker and ten being a Japanese tea ritual enthusiast, I’m probably a solid five. I say this because I am deliberate (but not obsessive) about making tea. I brew it using good quality loose tea, pre-warm the tea pot, and allow it to brew for 3-4 minutes. My mother is British, so I was ingrained with the importance of tea from an early age. I even have a collection of silver
teapots, though I am not an active collector. I’m afraid if I continue down this slippery slope, I’ll end up on one of those reality shows that feature hoarders who live in crammed apartments that have mazes of narrow walkways carved out amid piles of clutter and junk. I have about 20 or so silver pots, and my husband is adamant that this number doesn’t grow (although he has his own issues with books on military history, which number in the hundreds). The point of all this is that I do love tea, and I love to incorporate it into my desserts. Making a Chai Gelato was a natural choice, as I love the milky, spiced flavor of a strong chai. I use Upton Tea’s Chai Spice to make it— Upton only sells loose tea, no tea bags. Loose tea is generally higher quality tea composed of whole leaves, as opposed to the lower quality broken-up leaves and dust used in most tea bags. Upton’s
has an outstanding collection of teas, and excellent service—I highly recommend them. You can buy their teas either in a tin or a packet. I buy the tins for each variety, then refill them with the silver packets of tea. This gelato pairs perfectly with a warm chocolate tart with a brownie-like filling. The gelato is a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the tart. Make sure you don’t over-bake the filling—the center should be quivery, and the edges just set. The filling will firm up as it cools. Use a high-quality bittersweet chocolate for the tart. I used a 65 percent Guittard chocolate, one of my favorites for baking. By the way, in an emergency, you can still make the gelato using chai tea bags. I won’t tell anyone.