Last week I was busily reading cookbooks and perusing the Internet in search of recipes that I could use for a “full tea” that I had volunteered to prepare for a fundraiser at the Dorchester County Historical Society.
Last week I was busily reading cookbooks and perusing the Internet in search of recipes that I could use for a "full tea" that I had volunteered to prepare for a fundraiser at the Dorchester County Historical Society. An AAUW group from another county had scheduled a tour of our museums followed by a tea. Usually the teas that we serve for the American Cruise Line tours only involve scones, cookies and tea but for the AAUW event I needed to provide a heartier offering.
What would you think of putting on the menu if you had been in my shoes? Almost all of the research that I did highlighted "scones" as a main feature for a tea. But what kind of scones? On a day when you have not much to do, I challenge you to spend some time Googling scones for there are quite a variety of styles but for this occasion I decided on a recipe that yielded a soft and rich sweet biscuit-like product. Since I couldn't find my small round cookie cutter, I just "dropped" the dough from a round measuring tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets. This recipe that comes from Food Network's Alton Brown yielded 36 mini-scones.
And, of course, if you serve scones, you must also serve "clotted cream" to go on them. In England this is also known as Devon Cream because it is made from Devon cows. But in Cambridge this is called "Mock Devonshire Cream." One of the many articles that I read regarding proper tea etiquette noted that scones are properly eaten by first dipping the scone into jam, jelly or lemon curd, then dipping this into the clotted cream and finally taking a bite and savoring the lovely flavor.
And then, of course, there are tea sandwiches that should be served after the scones and clotted cream. Some variation of a cucumber sandwich is expected on the tea tray. I chose to add a little color variation among the seven "sandwich and puff" offerings that I prepared by using green spinach wraps and filling them with a very colorful cream cheese and salsa spread. These would also make an interesting addition to lunch boxes and it is so easy to prepare.
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Elton Brown's Scones (adapted)
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons shortening (I just used 6 tablespoons butter)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
Handful dried currants or dried cranberries (optional)
Place baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and blend well. Using a pastry blender, cut in the small pieces of butter until you have a crumb mixture. Combine cream and beaten egg and add to dry ingredients. Stir in fruit and mix with spatula until well blended. Drop onto prepared baking sheets in small mounds approximately 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Bake until just light golden brown – about 15 minutes. Makes 36 small scones.
"Mock" Devonshire Cream
3 ounces, cream cheese at room temperature
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar and salt; stir until well-blended. Slowly stir in whipping cream. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes approximately 3 cups of topping.
Tortilla Rollups II
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup salsa
4-ounces finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 (10-inch) flour tortillas
In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, green onions, salsa and Cheddar cheese. Spread the mixture onto the tortillas. Roll up each tortilla and tightly wrap in plastic wrap then refrigerate. Cut diagonally into small cross slices to serve or cut each wrap in half if using for a regular sandwich.