When German Bakery meets Chinese Tea – Mrs. T

Article Wenzhuo Liu, Photos Maren Thobaben

Good news for Chinese readers: related article has been published in the April 2021 <Tea Times 茶博览> tea magazine in Chinese, “中国茶与德国烘培的偶遇” page 40-45.

In China, in fact, there are many kinds of tea food, and because of the types of tea, personal preferences and differences, it is a general principle to match sweet tea food with green tea, sour and sweet tea food with black tea, and salty and alkaline tea food with oolong tea, the so-called “sweet with green, sour with red, melon seeds with oolong 甜配绿,酸配红,瓜子配乌龙“. When it comes to tea food, in fact, it’s easy to think of Engliand afternoon tea food and Japanese tea food, the beautiful tea snack is not too greasy and crooked only when it is paired with tea. In Germany and Europe, there are only a few tea food that use tea as ingredients, Earl Grey tea shortcake and tea nougat, which are very common in Europe. These improved tea versions of European cuisines from Maren Thobaben, French tea macarons and Italian tea pasta, seem to open up a new European tea food world. Read More

In 2018, I had the honor to taste the innovative tea food of Maren Thobaben (pseudonym “Mrs T”) at the Tea Expo in Hamburg, Germany. Maren is a German baker who likes to drink tea. Now she is a freelance pastry maker, mainly providing product and formula consulting or improving production links for some German candy, baking and tea companies. Maren used to be a user experience designer, about 7-8 years ago, she changed her career and started training as a baker. In the process of learning baking, she suddenly had a brainwave to add tea as a mysterious ingredient to the pastry baking, which also started her journey of making innovative tea food. In recent years, she has been trying to innovate and has her own website, Mrs T, to share her own recipes with netizens. Every time she tastes a new tea, her passion for tea baking is always aroused. Maren is fascinated by the wonderful combination of different pastries and teas, even the simplest combination is full of all kinds of novel possibilities. She thinks pastries are a good carrier of tea fragrance, especially the pastries with mild taste.

Butter is often used in German baking, not only butter is very suitable to set off the aroma of tea, but also egg white and sugar are good carriers of tea aroma, such as crisp biscuits, yeast cakes, especially high-quality protein pastry formula are suitable for baking with tea. Although many baking materials will cover the aroma of tea, many high-grade Chinese teas are not very suitable for baking. For example, chocolate will swallow most of the flavor of tea, and Matcha chocolate uses relatively light white chocolate. However, the dark chocolate of Zhengshan Xiaozhong (Lapsang Souchong) made by Maren is an exception, which is very delicious. This is also due to the fact that Zhengshan Xiaozhong black tea is roasted by pine needles or pine wood fire, the strong smoked aroma and bitter dark chocolate complement each other. The strong aroma of smoked tea also goes well with bread, such as Zhengshan bagel and smoked tea Brio bread.

A variety of Japanese Matcha snacks were once popular in some teahouses, cafes and pastry shops, for example, the green color of Matcha Melaleuca cake seemed to attract people’s appetite. Maren thinks that tea can not only be used to increase the attractive visual color of pastry, but also be crushed and directly sprinkled on the surface for decoration, so that people can enjoy the crunchy taste when chewing. And with the increase of chewing times, if you taste it carefully, the aroma of tea will stay in your mouth and continue to accumulate. This kind of enjoyment also deeply attracts Maren. For her, taste is always the most important consideration.

Maren also boldly tried to add Pu’er tea to baking. She loves the mellow taste of Shu Pu’er tea and used it in the traditional Swiss dessert, Engadin Nut Tart, which was invented in 1920 in Engadin, Switzerland. The strong and domineering of Shu Pu’er tea is enough to brand the black caramel and nut tart. In addition, the interesting thing is that Engadin Nut Tart is similar to Pu’er tea, both of which can be preserved for a long time. The shelf life of the nut tart for several weeks or even months is relatively long in the pastry industry. And Engadin Nut Tart not only can be preserved for a long time, but also is very nutritious. It only needs to be cut into a small piece each time, which is very suitable for tea.

In fact, Shu Pu’er tea is very suitable for the co-occurrence of caramel. Maren made a tea food of fun and a big leap that jumped in the pot. Many people tasted Pu’er tea American style Caramel popcorn and found that the combination of sugar, Shu Pu and butter actually has a faint chocolate flavor. Most people are used to watching movies and eating popcorn as standard. In fact, it’s an interesting way to eat popcorn sprinkled on pumpkin soup. Pu’er tea is popular among people who understand tea in Germany, but it is not popular among the public. Maren also wants to arouse German curiosity about Pu’er tea through her own tea baking, and recommend more good tea to the public in Germany.

Jasmine tea from China is also one of the most popular tea leaves that Maren loves to bake. Tea can give the baked products a special natural aroma and taste, the jasmine tea scented with the fragrance of real jasmine flowers will give the most natural fragrance, which is incomparable with the jasmine tea with flavor additives. Shell shaped French Madeleine Cake can be made into jasmine tea flavor, people who like almond flavor can also add almond powder, almond and jasmine tea is also a good match.

Jasmine tea French meringues is a delicious tea dessert with fresh berries or fruits. Pastry can also be used as the base of Pavlova cake, coated with whipped cream, decorated with strawberries, and then sprinkled with coconut powder or almonds. Pavlova cake is a common dessert in Australia and New Zealand named after Anna Pavlova, the Soviet ballet dancer. With the current trend of advocating gluten free, Pavlova cake is also a very popular pastry in Europe and North America in recent years, because it does not contain gluten.

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