Bites : The Dessert of Champions

The other night the foodies amongst my circle of friends gathered for an annual competition called the Golden Rolling Pin.  It is a prestigious contest entered by only the bravest and judged by only the most discerning.  The previous year's winner serves as the host and selects the theme or category within which we must work to stun with our culinary prowess.  This year the theme was Dips.  What better than a hearty chip dip to snack on while watching the Olympics?  I'll tell you what: a DESSERT dip.

I decided to enter the competition for the first time this year, and I was not messin' around; I breathed deep of all the Olympic inspiration that's been floating in the air and channeled it into the creation of a delicious dessert dip.  There was a fire in my eyes and confidence in my step; the only thing missing was Bob Costas's voice narrating my quest for victory.

(I should perhaps mention that the winner would receive bragging rights and have their name inscribed on a "golden" rolling pin.  Was my passion disproportionate to the winnings?  That is a matter of opinion.)

Anyway, after deciding that a dessert dip would set me apart from the savory competition, I decided that I should go the extra step of connecting it with the Olympics.  I wanted to create a nod to the host country, and this was my basic thought process:
1.  Something British....TEA!
2.  I love Earl Grey.  Earl Grey is the BEST.
3.  These are really good.
4.  But they're not a dip.  You have to make a dip.
5.  And you should serve it with shortbread, because we mustn't forget about the Scots.

Rosemary shortbread
...And somehow I ended up with the following recipe.  I served it in a big teacup with rosemary shortbread to dip (I just added rosemary to Mark Bittman's basic shortbread recipe).  The one strange issue I ran into had to do with the mascarpone cheese, and I'm hoping any foodies (or shoot, chemists!) out there might be able to help me figure out what happened.  On its own the mascarpone is rich and smooth like cream cheese; however, as soon as I whipped it into the [completely cooled] melted butter mixture, it became strangely granulated, almost like tiny curds.  I would've expected that to happen if the cool cheese had hit warm butter, but it didn't.  Any possible explanations?  If you know, or if you try making this and get different results, I'd love to hear from you!  Texture issues aside, it was a big hit but came up one point shy of first place!  Oh well.  Next year, people.  Next year.

Earl Grey Dessert Dip // Makes approx. 1 1/2 cups
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 t. (about 4 bags) Earl Grey tea leaves

Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring in the loose tea leaves.  Add the brown sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble.  Set aside to cool, then whisk in the vanilla.  If desired, pour through a strainer to remove the tea leaves, but there's nothing wrong with leaving them in!  
Cream together the mascarpone and powered sugar for 60 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the brown sugar and butter mixture.  Mix until combined, and you're ready to serve!
Optional variation: Add 1/4 c. (or more to taste) cocoa powder during the final mixing step to make a Chocolate Earl Grey dip!


jacqueline said…
i'm so glad you posted the recipe! what an amazing dessert dip. :) i can't wait to try making it! :)

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