When Speedy saw Giada de Laurentiis making this spiced tea on her TV program, the first question he asked was whether we had star anise. Of course, I said, we always have star anise in stock. A couple of days later, he made the tea but didn’t bother taking photos. I felt that Speedy wasn’t too happy with the star anise because most had broken “petals” and the star shape was no longer discernible. Pity, really, because the spiced ice tea was so refreshingly and uniquely delicious and perfectly bloggable. On our next trip to the grocery, we bought a new bag of star anise and, last night, he made the tea again. This time, he took some lovely photos.
Before going to the recipe, however, note that there is a difference between Illicium verum (Chinese star anise which is safe to use in food preparation and has many health benefits) and Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise which is toxic and used mainly for ornamental purposes). They look the same in dried form so, to be safe, buy star anise from reputable groceries and food stores.
Tweaked from a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis.
- 5 star anise pods
- 2 Earl Grey (or use plain black) tea bags
- sweetened condensed milk, to taste
- Fill a pan with about five cups of water. Add the star anise and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, drop in the tea bags, cover and let steep for an hour.
- Strain the brew, transfer to a container or containers that can go into the fridge and chill for several hours.
- Pour into glasses, add ice if you like, add sweetened condensed milk, stir and serve.