Spiced Smoked Tea Shortbread with Gingered Orange

By • December 10, 2012 5 Comments

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Author Notes: This latest journey began with a Food & Wine recipe for Earl Grey Lemon Bars. As I had just made our Thanksgiving turkey by modifying a tea and lemon brine into a smoked tea, orange and spice brine, this substitution was almost automatic. Yes, I would make smoked tea orange bars instead. But, not really being a fan of the standard lemon bar, or ever eating more than a serving or two of sweet baked goods cooked at home, I started to tweak that idea bit by bit. I reduced the sugar, added a pile of toasted spices and smoked tea to the base and made a ginger, orange custard on the top. These are great as is, but I also loved them as platforms for an appetizer. Not having time to smoke some duck breast for the top, I bought a couple confit duck legs and made a gooey black bean glaze. The overall combination was excellent, but the orange bars were great alone as a not-too-sweet dessert as well. Other toppings could include pork done with the same sauce or smoked duck charcuterie or similar....savorthis

Makes 36 treats

Lacquered Black Bean Duck Confit

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lapsang souchong (or 1 teabag)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 orange (zested, juiced)
  • 5 ounces confit duck meat
  • cilantro for garnish
  1. Boil water and steep teabag for about 5 minutes. If using confit duck legs, remove skins and render with any fat you can scrape off in a pan. You can save the crispy skin for garnish (or snacking). Cook shallots, ginger, garlic and black beans in fat for a few minutes until beginning to brown and very fragrant. Add tea, soy, syrup, juice and zest and simmer a bit while you pull meat off the bone into 1? or so chunks. Add meat to sauce and cook, stirring until sauce has just turned into a glaze. Remove from heat.
  2. Place a small piece of duck on an orange square and garnish with cilantro. These are best served right away while they are still warm or room temperature and still a bit crispy, but can also be gently warmed the next day.

Smoked Tea Shortbread with Gingered Orange

  • 1 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lapsang souchong tea
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 2 cloves
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice (zest first and reserve)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lapsang souchong (or 1 teabag)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 350?. Line an 8" baking dish with foil and grease with butter or cooking spray. Mix flour, sugar, tea and salt in a bowl. Toast spices briefly in a pan until fragrant then grind to a powder. Stir into flour. Cut butter into flour and mix until it resembles a medium crumb. Press into baking dish and bake about 18 minutes or until brown.
  2. Meanwhile, heat orange juice and ginger in a small pot and reduce to 1/4 c. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and zest, then stir in eggs. Strain juice into egg mixture and mix until smooth. Pour over hot crust and return to oven until set and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Gently peel off foil and cut into small squares.

More Great Recipes: Chicken|Appetizers|Cookies|Desserts|Hors d'oeuvres

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Comments (5) Questions (0)


6 months ago LE BEC FIN

Well,savorthis, if this isn't the DARNDEST recipe i ever saw, i don't know what is!
Did someone say, "Pass the meds"?! Salty duck confit on a sweet orange smoked tea shortbread. When i deconstruct it, I do appreciate the beauty of your thinking. I just have to really stretch to fit the duck in there (but that's because i'm not elastic enough; it's taken decades to get where i can appreciate a little sweet with the savory.) But then i don't know if the duck part is overkill. My mind wants to focus on the nuances of the 2 shortbread layers- very brilliant imo! I have to make this soon. I only found the recipe whilst hunting for the tea smoked duck recipe that did NOT make the Noodle community picks (when i really thought it should :-( ). If anyone wanted to find out how you are at thinking outside the box, this recipe would certainly show them! I really admire your work here, st.


6 months ago savorthis

You're funny! It might seem odd, but I really reduced the sugar in the orange bars so they are not as sweet as you think. Then again, I'm a sucker for sweet + meat. The bars are good solo, so if you try them with or without the duck, let me know! It has been quite a while since I have made them.


over 2 years ago Avalon Fiesta

Wow! What a gorgeous presentation. Now I really have to try it.


over 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

This looks delicious! Very similar to an idea I had for this contest, but was too lazy to follow through with :)


over 2 years ago savorthis

Ha! It is actually a lot simpler than it seems and once the idea struck me I was determined even though I hardly ever makes "sweets" or bake beyond the occasional bread.