The holidays are nearly upon us, and every year it’s fun to try something new in addition to our favorite old standbys. This year I was very fortunate to receive some samples of Bhakti Chai concentrated chai mix to try. While you can simply mix the chai concentrate with dairy, soy or nut milk, you can also use the flavors of black tea, ginger and spices to whip up a few of the company’s awesome holiday-perfect recipes. They sent some along, and I can’t wait to try them.
Bhakti Chai Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is a holiday favorite. Try spicing it up with the warming taste of ginger and herbs using Bhakti Chai concentrate.
All Butter Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water
To make dough:
1. Spoon flour into a one cup measure and level the top by sweeping a knife across. Measure two cups of flour this way into a medium bowl.
2. Add salt and butter. Cut the butter into the flour with two knives or with a pastry cutter (or with a paddle if using a mixer) until the butter is pea sized or slightly smaller.
3. Slowly add ice water and mix until the dough comes together in a ball and there are no dry patches. Flatten the ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes. (This can be done several days in advance.)
To prepare pie crust:
1. Roll dough to approximately 1/8-inch thickness. Turn pie tin upside down on the dough and, using a paring knife, trace a circle 2 1/2 inches larger than the tin. Turn pie plate right side up and line it with the pie dough. Roll the edge down and crimp tightly. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie shell on a baking sheet. Line shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with dried beans or rice.
3. Bake shell until edges appear dry and slightly golden. Remove beans and parchment/foil, prick bottom and sides with a fork and return to oven until the bottom of the shell appears slightly puffed and dry. Set aside. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
3 cups Bhakti Chai Concentrate
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1. Boil Bhakti Chai Concentrate in a saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup. Set aside to cool.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together brown sugar, cane sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolks.
3. Whisk in reduced Bhakti Chai.
4. Sprinkle chopped pecans in the bottom of the partially baked pie shell. Pour filling mixture over the pecans.
5. Place pie in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until filling is firm when pressed in the center.
6. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired. —courtesy The Little Bird Bakeshop
Bhakti Spiked Nog
I don’t care for traditional egg nog, but this spicy chai mix with rum warms up a cool night.
1/2 cup Bhakti Chai concentrate
1/2 cup Silk Nog, RiceNog or EggNog
1 shot of your favorite rum or whiskey
Mix all ingredients and warm on stove to serve hot, or pour over ice and serve cold. Makes 1 drink.
Bhakti Chai Spiced Nuts
I love the idea of making spiced nuts for the holidays. They have less sugar and more nutritional value than many holiday treats, and they package up beautifully as a gift for a favorite neighbor, teacher or coworker.
2 cups unroasted (raw) mixed nuts
1 cup hot Bhakti Chai concentrate
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Warm up Bhakti Chai on the stovetop or in the microwave. Soak nuts in hot Bhakti Chai for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Mix brown sugar, spices and salt together.
4. Strain nuts (save leftover Chair, reheat and enjoy with your favorite milk or dairy!) and mix with sugar/spice mixture.
5. Lay a piece of parchment paper or spray/coat a baking sheet with oil and lay nuts in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until nuts are fragrant and browned. Keep an eye on them so the sugar mixture doesn’t burn!
6. Let cool before removing and enjoy!
—courtesy Dana Villiers of Whole Foods in Boulder