Chai, the traditional Indian tea, has become popular the world over, although it’s often erroneously referred to as “chai tea,” which is repetitive. Chai is the name for tea, and everyone has an opinion about the best way to make and enjoy it.
These recipes will help you make it yourself in a slow cooker, or bake the distinctive flavors into a pie.
Jerrelle Guy writes the blog “Chocolate for Basil.” Her debut baking book is filled with decadent, nostalgic desserts and even some savory crackers, dips, pizzas and flatbreads. For this flavorful pie, Guy takes several notable ingredients found in chai and pulverizes them into a powder. (You’ll need a spice grinder or a powerful food processor for this task.)
PLUM CHAI PIE
From “Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing” by Jerrelle Guy (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)
- >> Crust:
- 2-1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes, or very cold virgin coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water, plus more if needed
- >> Chai spice mix:
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 20 cardamom pods
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- >> Filling:
- 5 to 6 plums, pitted and sliced
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon and zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup flour
- Nut or grain milk or cream, for brushing crust
- Raw sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
>> To make crust: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour using your hands or a pastry cutter until the flour is a little crumbly, but there are still pieces of butter the size of flattened chickpeas.
Add vinegar and water, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring gently and compressing with your hands just until dough comes together. Divide dough in half, shape halves into disks, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
>> To make chai spice: Grind spices in a food processor until fine like a powder.
>> To make filling: Combine plums, ginger, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour and chai spice blend. Toss to coat plums. Let marinate a few minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees and have a 9-inch pie plate nearby.
Remove one of the chilled disks of dough from the fridge. Using a lightly dusted rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 1/4-inch-thick round. Fold dough over rolling pin to help ease it into the pie dish, making sure to fill out the dish evenly. Leave a 1-inch overhang; trim off any excess. Fill pan with plums and all their juices.
Remove other disk of dough from fridge, roll it out into a 1/4 inch-thick round and drape it on top of the fruit, also trimming off all but a 1-inch overhang. Pinch edges of crusts together to seal. Cut a few slits in the middle of the top crust to release steam during baking. Place pie in freezer for another 10 minutes to chill the butter in the crust.
Remove pie from freezer and brush top with milk.
Sprinkle with raw sugar, if using, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing. Makes 1 9-inch pie.
THIS CHAI tea — from the American Heart Association’s slow-cooker book — is equally as good served hot or cold. You can strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve to remove most of the leaves or through a coffee filter to remove even more.
SLOW COOKER CHAI
From “Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook” by the American Heart Association (Harmony, $19.99)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 8 single-serving bags black tea
In the slow cooker, stir together all ingredients except tea bags. Add tea bags, draping tags over the side of the slow cooker. Cook on high 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
Discard tea bags. For hot tea, serve immediately. For cold tea, ladle tea into a pitcher and refrigerate, covered, for up to three days. Serve tea hot or over ice.
Nutritional information unavailable.