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English or Afternoon Tea Party Tested Recipes & Videos

 

Cream Scones Devonshire Cream (Clotted Cream) Shortbread Cookies with White Chocolate & Raspberries
Cream Scones have a lovely crisp crust with a rich buttery flavor and light and fluffy texture. They are delicious cut in half and served with Devonshire Cream and either jam or lemon curd. more Devonshire Cream is a clotted cream produced commercially in Devon Cornwall and Somerset England. It is a thick, rich, yellowish cream with a scalded or cooked flavor that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream forms on its surface. more Shortbreads are a buttery cookie (biscuit) that taste absolutely delicious when sandwiched together with raspberry jam and grated white chocolate. more
Chocolate Sponge Cake Light Fruit Cake Pound Cake
This is a deliciously moist chocolate sponge cake that melts in your mouth. Can be filled with plain, chocolate, or raspberry whipped cream. more A delicious Fruit Cake with a delicate almond flavor that is full of candied and dried fruit. . more This Pound Cake is wonderfully rich and buttery with a lovely golden brown crust. more
     
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"Tea is much more than a mere drink in Britain.  It is a solace, a mystique, an art, a way of life, almost a religion.  It is more deeply traditional than the roast beef of old England....This khaki-colored concoction, brewed through an accident of history from an exotic plant grown thousands of miles from fog, cricket and left-handed driving, has become the life-blood of the nation."

- Cecil Porter of Gemini News Service

In the past whether you took "afternoon tea" or "high tea" was a peek into your social standing.  Afternoon Tea was a light elegant meal served between a light lunch and late dinner, usually between 3 o'clock and 5 o'clock, and was mainly confined to the aristocracy with their leisurely lifestyle.  High Tea was a more substantial meal, including meat and/or fish, and was really a early dinner which well suited the middle and lower classes after a long day at work. 

'Afternoon Tea' did not exist before the 19th century.  At that time lunch was eaten quite early in the day and dinner wasn't served until 8 or 9 o'clock at night.  But it wasn't until Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, asked for tea and light refreshments in her room one afternoon, around 1830, that the ritual began.  The Duchess enjoyed her 'taking of tea' so much that she started inviting her friends to join her.  Before long having elegant tea parties was very fashionable.   Demand for tea wares grew and soon there were tea services in silver and fine bone china, trays, cake stands, servers, tea caddies, tea strainers, teapots, and tea tables.  continued below....

Almond Shortbread Cookies

Sponge Cake filled with Raspberry Cream

Madeleines

Although this recipe is very similar to a plain shortbread, it differs in that it uses not only all purpose flour but also rice flour and almond flour which subtly changes both its flavor and texture. more Sponge Cakes presented in this way have a beautiful pinwheel design and they are often filled with toppings like lemon curd, jam or preserves, fruit sauces, chopped nuts, ganache. more. Whether you enjoy them plain or dipped in your tea or coffee, these small petit fours sec make the perfect afternoon treat. more

Carrot Cake

Chocolate Almond Torte

Linzer Cookies

This Carrot Cake is moist and flavorful with grated carrots and is frosted with a delicious cream cheese frosting. more The popularity of the Chocolate Torte is easy to understand. Just a few excellent ingredients are needed to produce a dense and moist cake with an intense chocolate flavor. more Linzer Cookies use the same ingredients as the Linzertorte but present them in a different way. Two cookies are sandwiched together with a layer of preserves. more

Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

Cream Puffs

Financiers or Friands

A mixture of toasted nuts, chocolate chips, ground cinnamon and brown sugar is used both as a filling and topping for this cake. more A favorite is the cream puff which is a hollow round of crisp choux pastry that is split in half, filled with a cream or custard, and dusted with powdered sugar. more Financiers are soft and springy with a slightly domed top and a lovely golden brown crust. Take a bite and you can taste the moist subtle flavor of butter and almonds. more

Lemon Curd

Lemon Tart

Vanilla Cupcakes (Fairy Cakes)

Lemon curd is a thick, soft and creamy, spreadable cream that has a wonderful tart yet sweet flavor. Traditionally it was used as a spread for scones but today we also use it to fill our tarts, pies, cakes, and as part of a trifle. more This Lemon Tart has a buttery shortbread crust, a creamy lemon filling, and lovely swirls of whipped cream on top. Absolutely Delicious. more Vanilla Cupcakes are wonderfully sweet and buttery and are frosted with a lovely Buttercream. more

Apple Tart

Meringue Cookies

Linzer Torte

This is one dessert that I recommend eating shortly after it is baked; when the crust is at its best, beautifully crisp and crumbly, the filling is soft and creamy, and the apples are juicy and flavorful. more Meringue Cookies are so airy, sweet and crisp that they seem to almost melt in your mouth. more Linzertorte originated in Linz, Austria and is very distinctive looking with its beautiful golden brown crust, filled with ruby red preserves peeking through the pretty lattice design. more

 

Pavlova

Lemon Frosted Lemon Cake

Lemon Meringue Tart

This meringue cake, with its unusual soft sweet marshmallow center and crisp crust is produced by folding a little vinegar and cornstarch into the stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar. more A simple pound-like cake that has a wonderful citrus flavor that comes from adding both lemon zest and juice to the batter. more Lemon Meringue Tart is a delicious combination of a sweet pastry crust, lemon curd filling, and airy meringue. more

Boston Cream Pie (Cake)

Shortbread Tarts with Cream Filling

Shortbread Cookies

Boston Cream Pie consists of either a white sponge or butter cake that has been split in half and filled with pastry cream. A chocolate glaze is then poured over the top of the cake and allowed to drip down the sides. more These rich and buttery miniature shortbread tarts are filled with a delicious cream filling made with cream cheese, condensed milk and lemons. Garnish with fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or kiwi slices. more Shortbreads are traditionally a Christmas cookie that blends butter, sugar, and flour to make a rich and delicate tasting cookie. more

Strawberries filled with Cream

Strawberry Shortcake

Individual Cheesecakes

Fresh strawberries are cut and filled with a delicious mixture of heavy cream and mascarpone cheese. more Strawberry Shortcake is composed of a scone or biscuit that is cut in half and filled with whipped cream and lightly sweetened strawberries. more Individual Cheesecakes have a lovely creamy smooth texture and are wonderfully rich. more

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

New York Style Cheesecake

Pumpkin puree is used to make this sweet, moist, and flavorful quick bread. What sets this bread apart is a layer of cream cheese filling. more This Yellow Butter Cake has two moist and buttery cake layers that are filled and frosted with a delicious chocolate frosting. more New York Style Cheesecakes are creamy, and smooth, and rich, and dense, and absolutely delicious. more

Raspberry Tart

Millionaire's Shortbread Bars

Apple Frangipane Tart

This is my idea of the perfect dessert; ruby red raspberries sitting in concentric circles on top of a buttery flavored pastry. more

This popular British shortbread consists of three delicious layers; a buttery shortbread, a smooth caramel, and a shiny layer of melted chocolate. more

The almond filling (Frangipane) is a pastry cream made with almond paste that has a delicious almond flavor. more

Continued from above.

As times and lifestyles changed the popularity of the formal afternoon tea waned, but has seen a revival in recent years as people once again enjoy its elegance.   A "Devon Cream Tea" or simply "Cream Tea" has recently been adopted where scones, with clotted cream and jam, are made the main attraction served alongside a steaming pot of tea. 

Although we tend to associate dainty cucumber sandwiches and scones with afternoon tea, there is no set menu and it really depends on the time of year, the setting, and personal tastes.  Sandwiches and scones are standard fare but other choices can include muffins, crumpets, bread and butter, cakes, cookies (biscuits), gingerbread, pastries, fruit, and a selection of jam and jellies, preserves, lemon curd, and clotted cream.

Taking center stage, of course, is the tea.   Served from a teapot, the brewing of the tea is very important.   First, rinse your teapot with warm water.  Next, bring a kettle of water to boil and pour it over the tea leaves, letting it steep for three to five minutes.   If using loose tea the rule is one heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup of water, plus one teaspoon "for the pot".

At one time it was customary to first pour a little milk into the teacup.  It was thought that the fine porcelain cup may crack if the hot tea was poured directly into the empty cup.   Sugar was then offered in cube form, with tongs, or else granulated.  Normally the host or hostess pours the tea and serves the food.  Guests can either be seated around a table or else in armchairs with an end table nearby for them to place their cup and saucer, teaspoon, plate, napkin, knife and fork.

There is a wonderful assortment of fine teas available today.  The three main types are: Black, Oolong or Red, and Green Tea.  Assam, Ceylon, China Caravan, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Keemun, Kenya, Lapsang Souchong, Nilgiri, Orange Pekoe, Rose Pouchong, Russian, and Yunnan are Black Teas.  Formosa/China Oolong and Formosa/China Pouchong are Oolong or Red Teas, and Gunpowder and Jasmine are Green Teas.  Tea is sold either in tea bags or loose tea leaves.  At one time loose tea with its large leaves had a superior flavor as tea bags were made with broken tea leaves and siftings that produced a stronger darker tea.  The introduction of fine quality tea bags has changed that and now the choice between loose tea leaves or tea bags is based more on personal preference.

Tea caddies can be used to store both tea leaves and bags.  A small container, once lockable to prevent servants from stealing the expensive tea leaves, it keeps tea leaves fresh for up to 2 years and tea bags for approximately 6 months. 

To make proper tea sandwiches, the bread must be very thin.  If you are slicing the bread yourself, partially freeze the bread first to make slicing easier.  You can flatten the bread further by using a rolling pin.  Favorites include thinly peeled and sliced cucumber on lightly buttered white bread, egg sandwiches, and thinly sliced baked ham with watercress and cream cheese.  After making the sandwiches, cut the crusts off and cut into triangles, squares, or else rounds (use a round cookie cutter).  To serve, place the sandwiches on a iceberg lettuce-lined platter (lettuce has a high water content which will keep the sandwiches moist), or use a hollowed-out loaf of bread, also lined with the lettuce.

The scones should be cut into rounds and served with Devonshire Cream (rich cream) and jams (raspberry, strawberry, apricot, etc.) in a doily-lined platter or basket.  You can buy the Devonshire Cream at some specialty grocery stores or softly whipped heavy cream makes a good substitute.   Alternatively, you could serve lemon curd (can be bought at specialty stores or made yourself).  

Finally, for something a little different, you might try reading tea leaves.  You can either hire a professional reader of tea leaves or simply try your hand at reading the leaves.

 
 
     
 

 

 

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