A proper, English afternoon tea

Nary a time goes by when I’m drinking tea and don’t think of Great Grandma Myrtle (from the colonial territory of East Michigan) and how she would ask if I wanted a “coopa tea” in her version of the Queen’s English. She passed on over 20 years ago, and I can still hear her clear as day.

When I told Alistair’s mum we were doing a blog about afternoon tea, she said it had gone out of favor but it was starting to become a thing again. Here’s hoping it gets back in favor, across the pond and here as well!

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My little sister, Sarah, loves to bake as well; and when I decided on three recipes, I knew I’d be needing her help – not only in coordinating the food but also in taking the dessert home with her. She’s 20 and can still eat whatever she wants. I’m suffering the delayed karma from being superior on eating whatever I wanted for so long.

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We focused our efforts on one savory and two sweets – cheesy/chivey scones, fairy cakes and jammy tarts.

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WHAT TO BUY

Cheddar & Chive Scones

256 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
57 grams (1/3 cup) white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
113 grams (8 tbsp) unsalted butter (cold or frozen)
170 grams (1/2 cup) vanilla yogurt
1 egg
100 grams (2/3 cup) shredded cheese (I used sharp English cheddar, parmesan and gloucester)
32 grams (1/4 cup) chives

HOW TO COOK

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and using either your hands or a pastry blender (what I prefer) combine butter with flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, blend yogurt and egg until smooth. Using a fork, combine yogurt and flour mixtures. Once it starts forming a small ball, use your hands to press it into one large ball. The dough will be sticky and that’s okay. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle about ¾” thick. Use a sharp, long knife to cut into 8 triangles (like a pizza); place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Note: I meant to make smaller scones and spaced out (pretty common – I own my blonde roots). If you want smaller scones, either cut the recipe in half or make two circles instead of one (yes, maybe this was obvious but I know there are fellow blondes out there even if only in spirit).

Serves: 8
Time: 15 min + 15 min prep

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WHAT TO BUY

Jam Tarts

256 grams (2 cups) all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
113 grams (8 tbsp) unsalted cold butter, cut in cubes
2-3 tbsp cold water

HOW TO COOK

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour and salt in bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and using either your hands or a pastry blender (what I prefer) combine butter with flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water gradually until it begins to hold together. Add more water as needed until it forms a ball. Sometimes it’s easier to put it mostly together and finish molding it into a round ball with plastic wrap around it. Put in the fridge for 15-30 min to make it easier to roll out.

On a lightly floured surface roll dough out to about ¼” thickness. I used a round biscuit cutter that was just slightly larger than the tin I used, so that the dough would fill the bottom and the sides. Use light fingers when pressing the dough into the tart tins – it’s just like most dough in that it doesn’t like to be overworked. Fill each tin with your favorite jam (I used peach, raspberry and blueberry lime). Be careful not to put too much in otherwise it may bubble over. It may or may not turn a golden brown – mine did not. I knew it was done when the jam began bubbling. Depending on your tin, you may want to place a pan under it to catch any potential overflow.

Serves: 12
Time: 15 min + 20 min prep

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WHAT TO BUY

Fairy Cakes

226 grams (1 cup) butter, room temperature
201 grams (1 cup) white sugar
2 eggs
192 grams (1.5 cups) sifted all purpose or cake flour
½ tsp baking power
½ tsp salt
120 ml (½ cup) buttermilk (regular milk is okay too)
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter in mixer at high speed, gradually adding the sugar. Add each egg one at a time and beat well.

In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Sift three times (no sifting necessary if using cake flour). In a third bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla. On low speed, mix together alternately flour mixture and buttermilk with sugar/butter/eggs until all is added.

Fill greased mini muffin tins about 2/3 full. Be careful to not put too much in or you end up with a mushroom looking muffin (which still tastes just as delicious BTW). Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the pan and if it comes out clean, they’re ready to come out. Take out of the muffin tins and let cool on a rack before frosting.

WHAT TO BUY

Buttercream Frosting

256 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar
38 grams (3 tbsp) salted butter, room temperature (or slightly melted if you forget to take out of the fridge as I usually do)
5 tbsp buttermilk (or regular milk)
2 tsp vanilla

HOW TO COOK

Mix everything together until it’s smooth and not too runny. You should be able to spread it on the top of the cake without it sliding off. Every time I make it, I end up having to add a bit more of one ingredient or another until it is just right, so don’t be afraid to put in more sugar to thicken it up. And you can add tiny amounts of butter to make sure that butter taste shines through. I could, and have, just eaten spoonfuls of this frosting. Alistair doesn’t care much for frosting. We don’t care much for Alistair when eating fairy cakes.

Serves: 12-18
Time: 15 min + 20 min prep

Lisa

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