As the Mid-Autumn or Moon Cake Festival approaches, the air in Yunnan Province is filled with the fragrance of sweet olive trees. This ancient Chinese dessert incorporates the taste of their blossoms — a perfect way to celebrate.
China’s greatest woman poet, Li Qingzhao from the Song Dynasty, once described the fragrant olive flower: “Pale yellow and gentle in nature, sparse but with potent fragrance... You are the first class in flowers.”
Wow your family and guests with the delicate flavour of this poetic blossom. Set this simple dessert to simmer and let the gourmet evening begin. White jelly mushroom (Tremella fuciformis) and ya pear, or Chinese white pear, lend the stew crunch and complexity from different parts of autumn’s garden.
Ya pear, rich in antioxidants and minerals, yet low in calories, is beneficial for the throat* and lungs. White jelly mushroom improves appetite, blood circulation, relieves internal heat, and nourishes lungs and brain. Fragrant olives help ease coughing, improve circulation and appetite.
Fragrant Olive Syrup
2 tsp (10g) dried fragrant olive flowers
6½ tbsp (90g) maltose or malt sugar
⅓ tsp (2g) salt
Wash flowers with salt water. Dry and place in bowl with maltose. Steam for 10 minutes. Remove from heat: pour mixture into clean jar. Let cool: store in refrigerator. Steep three days.
1 ya pear
3½ tbsp (50g) white jelly mushroom
2⅛ cups (500ml) water
fragrant olive flower syrup
2 tbsp (30g) crystal or rock sugar
Peel pear. Leave whole or pit and cut into pieces. Soak white jelly mushroom and cut into small bits. Mix all ingredients in porcelain bowl (see photo). Steam for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
* This article not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.