Have you heard of houjicha tea before? It is different from other teas: houjicha is made by slowly roasting tea leaves. While you can drink houjicha tea just like a regular one, you can also make a powder out of it, just like matcha!
Houjicha has a different flavor than matcha because it is made from smoked tea leaves, so in return it has a bolder flavor than matcha.
I got an opportunity to taste a sample from my friend at Matsu Kaze tea and it is incredible.
If I had to describe it, I would say that houjicha tastes like roasted nuts, such as pistachios. This inspired me to pair it with strawberries as their sweetness counteracts the strong taste of houjicha tea. I was super happy to see how well they worked together!
You can find a video of the assembly I posted on Instagram at the bottom of the page. You can also replace the houjicha powder in the recipe with matcha powder and it will work just as well!
Houjicha and strawberry tart
Sugar Pie dough (for 2 pies, you can easily freeze the leftover dough for weeks)
- 230 g butter
- 40 g almond powder
- 140 g icing sugar
- 2 eggs
- 420 g flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 200 g strawberries
- 20 g sugar
- 4 g pectin
- 10 g sugar (for pectin)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 50 g butter
- 50 g icing sugar
- 50 g almond flour
- 1 egg
Houjicha Pastry cream
- 500 g milk
- 90 g egg yolks
- 80 g sugar
- 45 g flour
- 80 g butter
- 5 g houjicha powder or matcha powder
Houjicha pastry cream
- Heat the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with sugar, then add flour. Pour a bit of the milk (around 1/3) on the eggs mix. Whisk the eggs with the milk before transferring back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Heat everything at medium heat while continuously stirring to thicken the cream. Once it starts boiling, you will have to keep stirring and cooking for 2 more minutes, to make sure the eggs and the flour are thoroughly cooked. Remove from the stove, add the butter, and whisk well. Finally, add the houjicha powder, whisk and use an immersion blender (if you have one) to get a very smooth cream. Transfer in another recipient and protect it with saran wrap directly onto the cream. Let it cool down in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using.
- In a saucepan, add the strawberries and sugar. Mix them with a hand blender and cook them for 3‑5 minutes at medium fire. Mix together your pectin with 10 g of sugar. This will prevent the formation of lumps in the confit. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add the pectin&sugar mix, add lemon juice and mix well. Put back on heat and cook for 2 more minutes. Keep in a jar in the fridge until use.
- With a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whisk together the butter (room temperature) with the sugar and almond powder. When it starts to be somewhat homogeneous, add the egg, previously beaten, little by little, until it all blends in well. When perfectly mixed together, cover with saran wrap. Keep in the fridge until use.
Sugar pie dough
- Use the flat beater with your stand mixer bowl to whisk together almond, butter, icing sugar and salt at low speed. Once homogenous, add the eggs one by one. Don't worry if there are still lumps. They will disappear once we add flour. Add the flour little by little. The dough should NOT be smooth it should still be clumpy. Remove from the bowl and finish smoothing it out by hand. The reason why we are doing this? We want to make sure that we don't overknead our dough. Lots of bakers have trouble with their pie dough retracting when they bake it. It's actually because gluten activates and becomes elastic. If you knead the dough for too long (even with the flat beater!), it can retract during baking. Cover your dough and let it rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
- You can either line the dough in a regular tart mould or line on a tart ring: cut out 1/3 of the dough and keep in the fridge. Spread the bigger part until you reach desired thickness (for me it's 2‑3 mm). Cut the dough according to the size of your tart ring. Place your tart ring on parchment paper before transfering the dough on tart ring. Spread the other part of the shortcrust dough until you get a 2‑3 mm thickness. Cut into bands that are as large as the height of your ring (mould). Line onto your ring and the other part of the shortcrust. Make sure it is well lined, cutting the sticking parts. Andd very important: poke the dough with the fork everywhere. If you are unsure of the technique, Watch my video showing how to line a tart.
- Bake in the oven at 170C (340F) for 20 minutes or until light brown. Remove the tart ring if you have one, add almond cream on the tart up to half the height of the tart. Bake for 10 more minutes. Let your tart cool down for at least 30 minutes.
- Spread a thin layer of strawberry confit on top of the almond cream. Add the houjicha pastry cream on top. Finish by adding fresh strawberries. If you are not sure how to assemble the tart, watch this video of how I made it.