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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Conversation About Tea--Part 4

I had promised to talk about the different types of tea this time, but a friend of mine has already covered the subject and says it better than I could. So, I am directing those who would love a good read about tea to Tea Party Girl's blog.

The menu

A successful tea is one in which the setting is attractive, the food is appealing, and the atmosphere is one of graciousness and amiability. Remember, a tea can be anything from toast for two to a beautiful cream tea.

Classically, though, a tea is structured as a three course-meal of sandwiches, scones, and desserts, served with jams, clotted (Devonshire) cream, and honey.

You can find recipes for tea sandwiches, scones, cakes, and more in many cookbooks, on the internet, and in my favorite magazine--Tea Time.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Cranberry Scones
1½ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg
¼ cup cream
¼ cup milk
¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly.
In another bowl, mix egg, cream and milk. Add flour mixture. Mix together until a smooth dough is formed. Gently stir in cranberries.
Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each half to a 5-inch diameter circle. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Cut each circle into four wedges. Place wedges one inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 8 scones.

Raisin Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup raisins
3 eggs, divided
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk, divided

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with vegetable-oil cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until particles are the size of small peas; stir in raisins. In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs lightly with 1 cup milk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until mixed.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently. Pat or roll out the dough into a circle 1/2-inch thick. Using a lightly greased and floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut into rounds, cutting close together to generate as few scraps as possible. Dip cutter into flour as often as necessary to keep dough from sticking. Push scraps of dough together so that edges join; firmly pinch edges with fingertips to make a partial seal. Pat this remaining dough to 1/2-inch thick; continue to cut 3-inch rounds. Space 1-inch apart onto prepared baking sheet. NOTE: When making scones, work the dough quickly and do not over mix.

In a small bowl, combine 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk; brush onto scones. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.
Yields 12 to 14 scones.

Mock Devonshire Cream

(Makes 12-14 servings.)
1 cup whipping cream
1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 -8 oz. carton dairy sour cream

In medium mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In separate bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and sour cream. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until serving time.

Walnut Tea Sandwich

1 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup ground toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg (or more to taste)
Salt and white pepper to taste
24 slices best-quality white bread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, walnuts, parsley, and bell pepper. Add onion, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; stir until well blended.
Spread one side of each piece of bread lightly with butter. Top the buttered side of 12 slices of bread with some of the cream cheese mixture and top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down.

Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a sharp knife. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again.
Yields 12 whole sandwiches or 24 halves or 48 fourths.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup creamy salad dressing, e.g. Miracle Whip ™
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup halved green grapes
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts

In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the lemon juice. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Mix the salad dressing, salt, pineapple, grapes, pecans, and water chestnuts into the chicken until evenly combined. Chill until serving

Spread one side of each piece of bread lightly with butter. Top the buttered side of 8 slices of bread with some of the chicken mixture and top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down.
Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a sharp knife. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again. Yields 8 whole sandwiches or 16 halves or 32 fourths.

Laura's Shortbread

1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour and salt, stir until blended. Roll out 1/2 inch thick on floured board and cut into shapes with small (2 inch) cutters.
Bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar. Makes 2 dozen.

Lemon Macaroon Tartlet

2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
1/2 cup white sugar
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease 24 mini muffin cups.
In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups coconut, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg whites; stir well. Divide mixture evenly among the prepared mini muffin cups, pressing mixture into bottom and up sides of muffin cups (use cooking spray on hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands).
Bake in the preheated 400 degree F (200 degrees C) oven until the edges are browned. Cool 2 minutes in the muffin tins on a wire rack. Remove from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

Prepare lemon pudding mix according to package instructions. Spoon lemon mixture into each macaroon tartlet shell. Top with 2 teaspoons of whipped topping sprinkled with 1/2 teaspoon coconut.


Tea Party Girl said...

Thank you, Karen, for the link and all talking about the menu. I appreciate the specific recipes! Isn't Tea Time great? The recipes can intimidate me sometimes, but the pictures always inspire me.

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Hi Karen,

More wonderful tea knowledge! Thank you so much! And thank you for the delicious recipes!