British High Tea Party: Part 1

Don’t you just love when things come together? You know, those days when your friends come over and you can just sit around, enjoy a bottle of wine and sample some new culinary ambition that you pray turned out delicious (and somehow, magically, it did). But sometimes, cooking for friends requires a lot more planning. Enter: the perfect menu for a British tea party! The thing I love about this menu is that it all comes together and I’m not left with any random ingredients that I’m going to struggle to figure out how to use up in the next week before they go bad. I guess that it partially has to do with using a lot of basic items, like bread, cheese, milk, etc. But still, it’s so satisfying! I recently used this menu for party of 25 people. The menu and recipes follow:

Cream Scones

Selection of finger sandwiches:
-Egg & Cress
-Cucumber & Mint
-Apple & Boursin

Bread pudding

Selection of Teas:
-Golden Nepal


The recipe I used here comes from the Joy of Baking website. Making these scones was a brilliant idea. I have tried scones in all types of bakeries in New York and have yet to try any that are as close an approximation to what I used to have in England (If you know of any good ones, please let me know in the comments section. Though not available for takeaway Alice’s Tea Cup serves some excellent scones). They came out golden on the outside with a creamy, flaky center. Yum…

The recipe below makes about 12 – 14 2.5 inch rounds. I made two separate batches for the party. If you too plan to make them for a large group of people, I recommend measuring out the dry ingredients the day before and storing in the refrigerator. That way your ingredients will remain cold longer into the process (especially if you sift the flour), and you can save yourself time the day of the party by having it ready to go. Likewise, I would cut the butter into small cubes and store in the refrigerator.

My recommendation is serve them with clotted cream or butter, and lingonberry jam.

2 cups all-purpose flour (and a little extra for kneading)
¼ cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup

Special Hardware:
A 2.5 inch cookie cutter
2 silicon mats or parchment paper
2 cookie sheets

Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°. Mix the dry ingredients together (if you haven’t already) and then add the butter and the wet ingredients. If you have a pastry blender, add the butter first and then knead in the wet ingredients. If not, then just add all at once and knead together until just combined. You don’t want to over mix. Flour your surface and your rolling pin, and roll the dough into a 7-inch round. Use the cookie cutters to cut out your scones. Twisting the cookie cutter through the dough supposedly helps them to rise higher. Place the scones onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with either parchment paper or silicon mats, positioning them a few inches apart. Brush the tops with a little bit of the cream. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let them cool before serving.


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