When I started thinking about what I wanted my birthday party to be like, I imagined inviting friends over for a relaxed afternoon with lots of chatting and, of course, lots of tasty things to eat. That sounded like the perfect opportunity to host afternoon tea, and I decided on serving traditional tea fare. We munched on tea sandwiches, scones, Russian tea cakes, and fresh berry skewers. For the sandwiches, I went with two of my favorites: egg salad and caprese on buttermilk bread (recipes below). (Side note: I normally don’t eat white bread, but it seems like a must for tea sandwiches, doesn’t it?)
My friend Jennifer brought boxes of macarons, bless her heart. I’m telling you, it could not get any better. These people are so nice to me!
The Russian tea cakes and the scones were both so easy to make, but the scones were much more popular. In fact, I think the scone recipe may be my new favorite. They’re the kind that will make you look forward to breakfast in the morning — if you have any left, which we did, because we were apparently planning to feed an army and made twice as much food as we needed, but more food is always better than not enough, right?
Devonshire cream (from World Market) and lemon curd (from Trader Joe’s) were served with the scones.
And finally, we ate a decadent banana cake with cream cheese frosting homemade with love and sprinkles. (Thanks, Denise!) I’ll be sure to make and share this recipe ASAP because it tastes just like my favorite banana cake from Icing on the Cake. (Amazing!!)
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
8 whole Hard Boiled Eggs, Peeled
4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
3 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Black Pepper To Taste
1 teaspoon Chives Chopped
1/4 Shallot, Minced
Combine all ingredients except for chopped chives in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, scraping the bowl once or twice if necessary. Continue pulsing until salad reaches the consistency you want.
Remove blade from bowl and stir in chives and shallots. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Serve on a sandwich (spread bread with a mix of Dijon and mayonnaise).
2 tomatos, sliced
1 cup spinach
1 cup basil
2 fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
2 tablespoons pesto
8 slices of bread
Spread slices of bread with pesto. Layer mozzarella slices, tomato slices, spinach and basil in each sandwich.
Dreamy Cream Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (optional, I skipped these since I like plain scones with my tea and cream and lemon curd)
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.