I love discovering a new way to savor the sweet flavors of seasonal fruit all year long, how about you?
I’ve enjoyed roasting fruit to accompany a main course or to enjoy as a satisfying dessert. But baking it to savor as a sweet drink? That just takes it to a whole new level!
Pečený čaj (baked tea) is a Czech beverage that supports the tradition of preserving seasonal produce for consumption throughout the year and can be prepared as a hot or cold drink. Often consumed in the cooler months of fall and winter, pečený čaj is usually served hot, and made by adding hot water to a few spoonfuls of a prepared fruit mixture. Just give it a quick stir to combine the mixture and the beverage will warm you up as you savor the sweet fruit flavor.
Make your own tea
Traditionally, the pečený čaj mixture is prepared at home by cleaning and cutting your choice of fruit, adding spices, sugar, and an optional splash of rum, and then baking it in the oven until the mixture is soft and the flavors have combined.
While the desired consistency varies from chunks of fruit to a mixture that is blended like a loose fruit spread, the finished blend can be stored in jars just like jam.
Watch this short video for a recipe.
One advantage of preparing it at home is that you can formulate the fruit and spice mixture according to your taste and the seasonal availability of ingredients. Some popular choices include forest fruits (lesní směs), apple and citrus (jablko, citron, pomeranč), raspberry & black currant (malina & černý rybíz) and cranberry (brusinka). The fruit flavor can be enhanced with spices such as cinnamon (skořice), cloves (hřebíček) or ginger (zázvor) and some additional sugar is added to increase the sweet flavor and preserve the mixture.
If you’d like to try pečený čaj but prefer not to prepare your own fruit mixture, you can buy ready to use blends at local shops in Brno, including Kolonial and Neroli. Or visit a cafe where it is served. In Brno, I know of Coffee4All in Nový Liskovec. Or Kavárna DOMA in Nový Jičín.
Nutritionally, both whole fruit and spices contain naturally occurring vitamins and antioxidant compounds that can be beneficial for good health. But the amount of healthful ingredients consumed in a few spoons of fruit is limited and will be most beneficial if you drink not only the liquid but also consume the tasty fruit mixture in your cup. Pečený čaj provides a caffeine-free choice with limited added sugars, so as the cold weather approaches, I hope that you will “fall” for a warm cup of baked tea.
Where to next
The article was written by Victoria Hawk, PhD, RD – an American Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with more than 15 years of clinical and research experience. She recently completed her PhD whilst living in Brno with her husband Jon, who is working here on an expat assignment. Victoria enjoys learning about local foods and plans to share her experience through this blog series.
Special thanks to Veronika Spáčilová for her contributions to this article.