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Author Notes: This is a take on the French Milk Jam, Confiture au Lait, a specialty of Normandy. Think of it as the Dulce de Leche of France.
Milk Jam is made by cooking down whole milk, sugar and split vanilla pods for an hour or two. In the end, you have a 'caramel' sauce that's as delicious as can be.
I love, love, love Lady Grey. I reverse engineer my tea, by warming up milk and adding the teabag to it. This way, the bitter tanins in the tea are smoothed out and mellowed and the essence of the tea is distilled, into a cup, ready to be drunk.
We discovered this quite by accident a few years ago - my husband and I. The taste is very different from brewing the tea in hot water and adding milk later. An extra special part of our tea ritual was spooning a touch of sugar into the mug and stirring, to sweeten the tea....but then we would also add more sugar, and this time wouldn't stir, so as you drink the mug down, the tea progressively gets sweeter! Heavenly!!
I decided to make a 'tea-milk' jam, hoping the slight bitterness from the tea would balance the sweetness from the sugar and milk. And it works well - the orange, and bergamot flavours of Lady Grey really carry through and end up creating a wonderfully fragrant, sweet 'jam' that would be at home on a slice of buttered crusty french bread as well as lining the base of a tart, topped with bananas and whipped cream, swirls some through vanilla ice cream, sandwich it between two cookies - the choice is yours. I know where I'm going..... —Kitchen Butterfly
Makes over 1/2 a cup
2 vanilla pods, split and seeds scraped out
4 Lady Grey teabags
- In a heavy sided, deep pot (I used a 'small' one - about 15cm deep and 15 cm wide) - combine the milk, sugar and split vanilla pod. Bring to the boil, add the four tea bags and turn down to simmer, on low heat.
- Simmer and stir using a wooden spoon, making sure the spoon scrapes the the bottom of the pan to move bits and prevent it from burning. Stir every 10 minutes. Sometimes it will foam and froth, skim - stir it in and continue (I agree this can be tedious but the results are worth enduring tedium for, in my humble opinion - in any case, gather your friends around the cooking pot and take turns stirring while you chat!)
- After 45 minutes, when the mixture is a golden caramel colour and the flavour of tea shines through, remove and discard the tea bags. The mixture would have reduced in volume to about a quarter.
- Keep stirring till you get a loose honey consistency. It will thicken to a paste, like Nutella or peanut butter once it cools down.
- Store in clean, sterilized jars and allow to cool. Once cool, refrigerate and allow the jam 'rest' - 2-3 days before eating. If it is too stiff when you're ready to devour it, warm it gently on the stove top, or in the microwave. Slather on bread, spread on bread dough to make tea jam sticky rolls, with pecans or eat by the spoonful.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Tea