Even though we don’t have seasons on the island as visually dramatic as those in the Northern parts of the States, we do feel the changes of the seasons quarterly. None more so than the switch between Winter/Spring and Summer. A cool winter evening is so appreciated when compared to the cover-kicking-off heat of a summer night.
On the island your body, more than your eyes, tells you that the seasons are changing. This is especially so, when summer shows up in all its warm, trade wind-cooled glory!
When it gets this hot, you start to crave every and anything to drink, and the colder the better! I call these drinks “Heat-Beaters”! They are usually something fast, something refreshing, and something so downright tasty and good!
I make pitchers of this elixir for friends and family or just my husband and I. Although, if I make it for just us then I leave out the sugar and simply use the honey for a less sweetened tea.
This sweet tea is filled with island flavors that never lets you forget that you are drinking something very tropical. I also appreciate it, because it gives me a way to use up one of my favorite fruits. The passion fruit seems to burst into bountiful ripeness around this time! I collect as many of them as I can, and spend a little time cleaning out the pulp, and freezing them for future use.
Passion fruit makes its way into almost every dessert I make. Its citrus notes, lightness, and tartness makes it a great flavor player! You can strain the pulp for the final serving of tea, but I prefer to leave it in. The speckled darkness, and golden-orange, halo brightness signals your eyes before your lips ever meet the cup that “This is going to be good!”
About 50 Ounces of Water
1 1/4 Cups (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice) Sugar
1/4 Cup of Local Honey
2-3 drops of Banana essence (to taste)
6 Bags of Orange Pekoe Black Tea (Lipton)
2 Cups Passion Fruit Pulp
In a large heat-resistant pitcher, pour gently boiled water over six tea bags and allow to steep for no more than 4-5 minutes. If you let the tea steep longer it will turn bitter.
While the water is still warm, add the passion fruit pulp, the sugar and the honey. Stir until the sugar and honey dissolves.
Add the juice of the limes and the banana essence. Be careful with the banana essence. It is very powerful and can add a bitter-ish taste to your drink if too much is used.
Let the drink cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate. You can leave it overnight to ensure that all the flavors properly marry. You can also strain prior to serving. However, I prefer to let the passion fruit seeds show themselves off, as a great visual contrast. I also add ice to the cups instead of to the pitcher, since it tends to dilute the flavors. It is to your own taste and preference.
It literally looks and tastes like SUNSHINE in a cup!