When I started my blog, I had no clear picture as to the types of recipes I would share in this space. But for sure I did not picture myself sharing a recipe for a fruit salad. After all, I suspect most of us are pretty set in how we make a fruit salad (mine is heavily copied from my mother’s version, which means oranges, apples, bananas, pomegranates when in season, a generous pinch of cinnamon and orange blossom water). And why change a good thing, right? But here we are with a recipe for a slightly different fruit salad, in case you ever want to try something new and a little unusual.
This Jasmine tea scented fruit salad is inspired by a fruit salad I had during one of our Monday team lunches at work. And yes, I don’t think I ever expected to be inspired by a catered work lunch. But it happened. It was about a year ago that we changed caterer at work for a few weeks during the summer. And while the new caterer may have been a little heavy-handed with the edible flowers (every single dish came decked out in intricate designs made up of edible flowers), the food was simply delicious. But the thing that has stayed with me the most was this fruit salad drizzled with a Jasmine-scented syrup we were served one day .
Had you asked me before what I thought of the idea of a fruit salad flavoured with Jasmine, I would have probably been game to try it but not too convinced it would actually work. Like most people, I have a slight love-hate relationship with anything floral (Orange blossom water? Love it. Lavender? Hate it. Rose water? Love it. Cadbury’s Turkish Delight? Hate it). And while I spent my boarding school years sipping copious amounts of Jasmine tea bought from the Chinese supermarket in the Lanes in Brighton feeling rather sophisticated, Jasmine is also one of those flavours that can easily be overpowering.
To my surprise, not only did the Jasmine work as a flavouring in the fruit salad, I absolutely loved it. So much so, I have recreated that fruit salad multiple times since, be it for myself, for my parents in Germany or last week when I had friends over for dinner and wanted something fresh and quick but nonetheless interesting for dessert. It also doesn’t hurt, that any leftover syrup lends itself phenomenally to concocting cocktails (Sake Jasmine Spritzer anyone?).
Jasmine tea scented fruit salad
Notes: It took me a few tries to settle on the perfect amount of Jasmine tea to end up with a strong enough Jasmine flavour that can stand its own against the flavour of the fruit but without being cloying. While you will need a stronger brew than you would for a normal cup of Jasmine tea, feel free to play around and adjust the quantities to suit your own preferences. In any event I suggest you don’t let the tea steep for longer than 4-5 minutes as you don’t want the tea to become bitter. And if Jasmine tea isn’t your thing, why not try making a different syrup to add to your next fruit salad? An Osmanthus tea syrup would be lovely with a mix of peaches, nectarines and raspberries I reckon. I can also imagine an Earl Grey syrup being intriguing with a citrus fruit salad.
8g white jasmine tea
For the fruit salad
Feel free to adjust this based on what’s in season but I quite like a mix of the following with the Jasmine syrup:
Half a small watermelon, rind removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 punnet each of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
1 white nectarine, sliced thinly
1/4 pound cherries
Start with the syrup. Bring the water to a boil and add the jasmine tea. Let steep for 4-5 minutes. Strain, reserving the tea.
Add the sugar to the tea, return to a boil just long enough for the sugar to dissolve. Set aside to cool down.
To serve, arrange the fruit in a large bowl or on a large platter. Serve the syrup separately so everyone can serve themselves.