|Afternoon Tea 3: Recipes: From Traditional to Exotic
There are many excellent recipes out there that are completely acceptable when it comes to a traditional British Afternoon Tea; the following are just a few suggestions that one might consider. While there are some traditions that would be a true shame to forget or leave out of a true tea party, their possibilities are only as limited as the host or hostess’s imagination.
Amongst the more traditional foods served are Cucumber Sandwiches, Scones, Tarts, and Clotted Cream. The exotics range from Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches, to Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins. Be creative and enjoy the possibilities.
Open Faced Cucumber Sandwiches
Makes 8 sandwiches
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon of dill weed
1 teaspoon chopped chives
8 slices of white bread
1 seedless cucumber
Combine the softened cream cheese, garlic salt, chives and dill in a medium sized bowl. Mix well. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Cut the cucumber into round slices. Set aside.
Using a biscuit or cookie cutter or even the rim of a glass, cut the middle out of each slice bread. Top each slice of bread with some of the cream cheese mixture, then a slice of cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish with additional dill and chopped chives.
Makes 8-10 scones
2 ¼ cups of flour
¼ tsp salt
½ baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
3 oz butter
1 heaping tsp honey
approx ¼ cup of milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and stir in the honey and enough milk to form a lite, springy dough, which should be just firm enough to handle.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured board. Knead very lightly to remove any cracks and roll out to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut into 2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter or glass. Place the rounds onto a greased and floured baking sheet.
Glaze each scone with a little milk and bake on the top rack of the oven for 7 – 10 minutes or until the scones have risen and nicely browned. Scones should be eaten right away, as they do not keep well.
Simple Cinnamon Scones
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking flour
½ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Slowly add the whipping cream until a dough is formed. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a ½ inch thick disc. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out the scones. Place in lightly greased muffin tins or baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool.
If desired, sprinkle with additional cinnamon and sugar.
Tantalizing Raspberry Tarts
8 – 10 tarts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsps cold butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup water
¾ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Measure out flour, sugar and salt and mix in a large mixing bowl. Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1 cup cold water. Remove 6 tbsps of the water. Push pieces of butter down into the water until the water level reaches 1 cup. Pour out the water. Then cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it looks like tiny peas. To the egg yolk add the tbsp of water and the lemon juice. Mix with a fork. Sprinkle the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the pastry holds together in a ball. With your fingers pull small pieces of pastry from the ball and press them evenly against the sides of each tart tin. The pastry should be about 1/8 inch thick.
Refrigerate the tart shells while you make the filling.
Put the cornstarch and the water into a small saucepan. Stir in ¾ cup sugar. Add the thawed raspberries to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thick ~ about 10 – 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool. Spoon the raspberry filling evenly into each tart shell ~ they should be no more that 2/3 full. Bake the tarts at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, turn down the oven to 350 degrees and bake them 15 minutes more, or until they are golden brown. Remove the tarts from the oven, put them on a cooling rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Then gently remove them from the tin.
Try using 1 cup fresh raspberries when they are in season, it’s delicious.
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp Confectioner’s sugar
½ cup sour cream
Mix 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tbsp sugar using an electric mixer. Whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in sour cream and mix until thick. Place in refrigerator and chill until time to serve. If made ahead of time, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup butter
Whisk 1 cup sugar and 2 large eggs in a bowl until blended.
Sift in ½ cup lemon juice.
Pour into a saucepan and cook over low-medium heat stirring constantly for 20 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a complete boil (less it curdle or burn), but allow it to gradually thicken. When the mixture thickly coats the back of a metal spoon, remove pan from heat and stir in ¼ cup butter until melted.
Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours. The lemon curd will thicken as it cools.
Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Makes 12 sandwiches
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup minced green onions
1 tsp fresh tarragon
½ cup finely chopped cashews
24 slices of fresh white bread
Combine the chicken, mayonnaise, green onions, tarragon and cashews. Mix well. Spread the mixture evenly in the middle of 12 slices of bread. Top with the remaining slices. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or the rim of a glass to cut the sandwiches out of the bread. For additional flair you can use different shaped cookie cutters, moon and stars for example. Garnish with green onions or cashew halves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes 12 – 14 muffins
1 cup milk
3 tbsps vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 tsps sugar
3 tsps baking powder
1 container frozen strawberries, thawed
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
Grease muffin pans
Combine all dry ingredients. Combine all wet ingredients. Mix together until lumpy and set aside.
Combine strawberries and cream cheese in separate bowl. Fill prepared muffin tins 1/3 full with batter. Add 3 tbsps of the strawberry mixture. Top with remaining batter so that each muffin cup is 2/3 full.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve. Garnish with one or two fresh strawberries with chocolate drizzled across them or a dollop of cream placed on top of the strawberries.
Makes 4 dozen gingersnaps
½ cup molasses
¼ cup all vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
Place oven racks in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Measure the molasses and shortening in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point. Immediately remove from the heat. Measure the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix.
When the molasses mixture is cool, pour it over the flour mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into small balls about the size of a quarter, and arrange them two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a small drinking glass or with your fingers.
Bake the gingersnaps until crispy and dry ~ 6 to 8 minutes. Watch them closely; they can burn very easily.
When the gingersnaps are done, sit the pan on a cooling rack. Let the gingersnaps cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the cookie sheet.
The above are just a few suggestions of what to serve at your British style Afternoon Tea. While these recipes are indeed wonderful they are just scratching the surface of the possibilities out there. Use your imagination, go through old recipes and see what fabulous new tradition you can come up with. The only limitations you have are those within your own mind. Traditional to exotic, fundamental to fabulous… the only true rule of an afternoon tea is that it is not meant to be a meal, so keep the food bite size, small portions, and of course something to keep your guest begging for more…. Enjoy the old traditions or create new traditions, but explore the possibilities.
As with everything this is my opinion, take what you will and leave the rest. If you wish to contact me, my email address is Norisch1@mchsi.com. If you wish to see more of my work you may find a complete listing of all my writings at…. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Norisches_Quill/ in the files section.