I first heard of Lapsang Souchong Tea when I was in Nashville on a girl's trip with my mom and grandmother. After a lovely dinner at AMOT which is by far the best gluten-free restaurant I've come across so far. Seriously if you're in the area and have a gluten or soy allergy; head there asap! They are so accommodating and helpful, I mean, I got to enjoy a chicken fried sandwich and mac & cheese, OMG it's to die for! So after this amazing dinner, trying to walk off our newly filled bellies we came across this cute and playful restaurant, the Treehouse. Not being able to stuff anymore in our mouths we stopped in for just one drink and one was all I needed to fall in love with Lapsang Souchong tea. The drink I ordered was an Indian Summer and it consisted of Rittenhouse Rye, Weller S.R., lemon, lapsang syrup, honey, bitters. I am not a huge sweet person, I like some bite or depth to my foods and I knew from that first sip that I needed to incorporate this tea in one of my baked goods.
At the time of this creation I was hungry, loving the Bourbon Brown Sugar Peach Upside Down Cake by Jessica Merchant and thought infusing the caramel with the tea and with a swap of pears instead peaches it would be a perfect marriage. And it was! In fact the smokiness of the caramel took so well that I started using it in other recipes such as Pumpkin Flan and my latest recipe Smoky Blood Orange Cake. Now this was not the first time I had made caramel but not wanting to waste this lovely tea by f*ing up the caramel, I did several batches perfecting the "Art of Making Caramel". There are many techniques for making this special sauce but this is what has worked for me and doesn't result in obscenities being screamed to an empty kitchen. I used 1/2 cup of water this time but if you like it a bit thicker just reduce it to 1/4 cup. If your a visual person like I am go to Cooking Classy for step by step pictures.
The Best Smoky Caramel Sauce
Using a candy thermometer helps but I just multitask and hold my meat thermometer while tipping pan.
Author: Rolling Pin Punches
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 cups
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp Lansang Souchang tea
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
- Heat heavy cream either in a small sauce pan until steaming (not boiling) or microwave as I did for 1:30 min. Stir in Lapsang Tea, cover and steep for 30 min. Strain and set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat combine water and sugar, whisking until dissolved. now put down that utensil and DO NOT STIR. Simply swirl pan or tipping from side to side to produce even cooking; about 5 min from fully dissolved state you will start seeing the color change from yellow for orange. Once it reaches a deep orange hue stick the thermometer in until it reaches 350 degrees. When it hits this point turn heat to low and add butter whisking until melted (its going to hiss and bubble but that OK). Turn off heat and while stirring slowly add the cream. Pour into heat safe container or jar to cool.