Ashland High Tea

Last Sunday afternoon,  I hosted my first high tea for C1 and a few friends.  I only invited a small number of people so that I would not ‘stress out’ as I tested my tea brewing abilities as well as how I would manage the three required servings. It turned out to be very easy and relaxing afternoon with the help of C1 and appreciative friends.

For a true British style tea, you are expected to serve 4-5 small savory items, followed by a second course of a scone with clotted cream and preserves, and then finish with small sweets and the mandatory truffle.  I incorporated the Gentlemen’s Relish (discussed in earlier post) into the egg salad — this stuff is powerfully strong anchovy paste but I think I could have added a bit more as my guests said it didn’t clean out their noses  as I had expected it might.  Tea is offered at each serving.  Below is my menu:

Ashland Afternoon Tea

I don’t feel much like pooh today” said Pooh.  “there, there.” said piglet, I’ll bring you some tea and honey until you do.”

-Winnie the pooh

First Course

Deluxe Opened Faced Finger Sandwiches

Smoked Turkey and Tarragon Dijonnaise on White Bread

Egg Salad and Gentlemen’s Relish on Mini Croissant

Goat Cheese and Fig Canapes

Cheese Crackers

Choice of Tea

Second Course

English Scones with Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Preserves

Choice of Tea

Third Course

Lemon Curd in Phyllo Cups

Oreos Dipped

Madelines

Coconut Cakes

Truffes

Choice of Tea

I downloaded a cookbook from Amazon.com (just one convenient click away) called, Abby Cooks Entertain:  220 recipes with photos to help you entertain the Downton way to help develop the menu above.  Two of the recipes that my guests really enjoyed are shared below.

Caramel-Dark Chocolate Truffles

Makes about 20 truffles

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 T water
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. fleur de sel
  • 12 ounces of merckens – melting chocolate
  1. Place 8 ounces of good quality chocolate in metal bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water.   
  2. Stir until the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Remove chocolate from over water.  
  4. Set aside. 
  5. Make the caramel:  combine sugar and 2 T water in small saucepan.
  6. Stir over low heat until mixture is amber color – takes a bit so be patient.
  7. Add cream (mixture will bubble).
  8. Stir over very low heat until caramel is smooth.
  9. Mix caramel and 1/4 teaspoon fleur del sel into melted chocolate. 
  10. Chill until truffle filling is firm, at least 3 hours.
  11. Use a small spoon to dip out truffle mixture and roll into small balls. 
  12. Melt meckens in microwave. 
  13. Submerge each truffle in melted chocolate, sprinkle with additional fleur de sel and transfer to parchment paper to dry. 
  14. As a nice finishing touch, place in little truffle cups you can buy in chocolate section of your favorite craft store.

Lemon Tarts

  • 1 jar lemon curd (Robertson’s brand is good from Central Market)
  • mini phyllo cups (in freezer section)
  • fresh blueberries
  • agave syrup

Place phyllo cups on a cookie sheet and fill with lemon curd to the top.  Place in 350 degree oven and cook for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool on counter.  Mix blueberries in agave syrup until the berries are covered and shiny.  Spoon 5-6 blueberries on top of each cup.  Voila!

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