Wednesday, March 23, 2011
FoodBuzz and Electrolux tasked FoodBuzz's Featured Publishers with coming up for the perfect Tea Party Treat for our very own Virtual Tea Party hosted by Electrolux spokesperson Kelly Ripa. Not only do I love tea parties and doing a proper Afternoon Tea, but this is also for an extremely good cause, raising money and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Research. For every post that a Featured Publisher writes FoodBuzz will donate $50 to Ovarian Cancer Research.
You mean I get to make my favorite tea party food and raise money for Ovarian Cancer Research all at the same time? And I get a chance to be featured in FoodBuzz's Top 9 on top of all of it?! Sign me up! You can take part too, even if you aren't on FoodBuzz or a Featured Publisher, for more info check out Kelly Confidential.
When I think of tea parties or Afternoon Tea I think of the first time I went to London, right after college. I had spent some time traveling Europe with a friend and at the end met up my mother in London. Needless to say after a few weeks of backpacking I was tired, dirty and kinda over it poor student travel. So when I got to the posh hotel where Mom & I were staying all I wanted was tea and scones. We had afternoon tea each of the 3 days we were in London, once at Harrods which was pretty fabulous. Now more than 10 years later, since I moved to Toronto I'm back on an afternoon tea kick and have gone to both the Windsor Arms & The King Edward Hotel, two of the nicest places in town for tea. The Windsor Arms wins for their gorgeous and oh-so-girlie tea rooms and lovely eclectic teapots. The King Eddie wins for their varied menu, mouth-wateringly delicious food and beautiful matching china. Needless to say I have all kinds of inspiration for tea party treats.
In trying to come up for a recipe for this virtual tea party I thought of little tea sandwiches crossed my mind, the cucumber, the smoked salmon, the crusts cut off, they are wonderful and dainty and perfect tea party food. And then I remembered my time in London, my desire for tea and scones and how the one thing that is consistent about every proper tea party I have ever been too, posh or otherwise, is that scones and jam are involved. No matter how proper they may seem, there is a perfectly rustic quality to scones that I love and is so up my alley, since no matter how much I pretend I'm so not a fancy person.
Rosemary Lavender Scones
adapted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco & Mindy Fox
makes 8 scones
1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp baking powder
5 Tbsps granulated sugar
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
6 Tbsps (3oz) unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
2 Tbsps - fresh rosemary - finely minced
3/4 tsp dried lavender flowers - roughly chopped
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1. In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in the butter and place the entire bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2. Remove bowl from freezer and beat with the paddle attachment on low until the butter is broken down into small pebble-sized pieces, about 3 minutes. Add in rosemary & lavender and turn on the mixer to combine, about 30 seconds.
3. Add in 3/4 cup of cream and lemon juice, beat on low until the dough just comes together, be careful not to overbeat. Use you hands to knead the dough until it completely comes together.
4. Lightly flour a large cutting board and turn the dough onto the board. Roll into a 8" round that is approx 3/4" thick. Cut into 8 equal wedges. Place the wedges on a cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. While the scones are in the freezer, preheat the oven 375F. Brush the tops of the chilled scones with remaining Tbsp of cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
6. Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, rotating the sheet after 10 mins. Bake until the edges are golden and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with Strawberry Earl Grey Jam.
I couldn't be happier with how these scones turned out, I was really concerned that the lavender would be too overpowering but you get just a hint of the floral fragrance and flavor and it pairs unbelievable well with the rosemary. They are absolutely delicious on your own, but made markedly better when slathered with a bit of my homemade Strawberry Earl Grey Jam.
Strawberry Earl Grey Jam
makes 7-8 1/2 pint jars
9 cups of hulled, and quartered berries (approx 3 quarts)
4 Earl Grey tea bags
4 cups granualted sugar
10 oz of water
2 lemons - zested and juiced
1. Boil the water, add tea bags to the boiled water and let steep until cool. Once the tea is cool pour over berries and sugar, stir gently to combine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.
2. After the tea and berries have steeped, add to an 8 quart heavy-bottomed pot along with the sugar, lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.
3. Cook the berry mixture over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Using a candy thermometer cook until 120F.
4. Ladle into sterilized jars, secure 2 part snap lids and boil in a hot water canner for 5 minutes.
While it's far from strawberry season here in the Great White North, and feels even further with the snow that was covering the ground when I woke up this morning, this is a recipe I felt compelled to share given the tea party challenge and my own desire for summer and canning to return soon. Even though summer still feels so far away. the best part of this jam is that everytime you open the jar you ge a whiff of summer, which helps get through the long cold winter more than you know. Bookmark this one and make it with your fresh picked strawberries this summer. You'll thank me come the winter.