I’m not good at catching trends at the right time. I procrastinate, let the hype fade, and finally try the whatever-it-is when it’s not even cool anymore. For instance, I still haven’t tried a cronut. In the case of this recipe, my timing was off by decades for one trend and several years for the other. I pulled this out of my files, and it became a contender for dessert for New Year’s. I ended up making ice cream for that occasion, and this sat in a stack of recipes that I was thinking about for days and then weeks. I didn’t want to file it away again without giving it a try, so it found its way onto a menu right around Lunar New Year which was kind of appropriate. It’s made with matcha green tea, and that was such a trendy ingredient in desserts eight or nine years ago. I used to see green tea shortbread, green tea ice cream, and green tea cakes all over the place. The other no-longer-trendy ingredient in this dessert is a bit retro. Creme de menthe is used, and I want to say that’s a 70s thing. I have considered making grasshopper pie with creme de menthe but never actually did it. Yet. This recipe for Frozen Green Tea Souffles is from the May 2006 issue of Living magazine, and it’s available online. Little cups are over-filled with the airy and fluffy mixture and left to firm up in the freezer. They’re called frozen souffles, but they’re really more like frozen mousse since egg yolks are used rather than whites. Regardless of what they’re called and what time they belong to, they were delicious.
I used small espresso cups for serving, but any little ramekin or cup will work. Keeping the serving size small is a good idea since these are more decadent than they look. Parchment paper was cut to size, wrapped around each cup, and secured with tape. Meanwhile, boiling water was added to a tablespoon of matcha tea, stirred together, and then refrigerated until cool. Next, sugar, egg yolks, and the cooled tea mixture were combined in the bowl of a stand mixer. That bowl was set over a pan of simmering water, and the contents were whisked for eight minutes. The bowl was then moved to the mixer, and the whisk attachment was used to lighten and cool the mixture. The last component is the whipped cream which was made with a tablespoon of creme de menthe. I whipped the cream in a separate bowl with a hand mixer and then folded the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture. Although I used clear creme de menthe with no food coloring added, the dessert was still a nice shade of green from the tea. It was divided among the prepared cups, and the cups were placed in the freezer for at least four hours. The texture of the dessert improves if it’s left at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. And, it was garnished with a dusting of matcha.
I had a slight concern heading into this that the mint flavor would overpower that of the delicate tea. Happily, I was wrong about that. There was just enough mint to know it was there, but the flavor of the tea wasn’t lost at all. It was a nice mix of the two in this light-as-air dessert. Being late to food trends isn’t so bad when the flavor stands the test of time.