Recipes: Luxury afternoon tea in the comfort of your own Suffolk home
- Credit: Archant
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis shares her idea of a sweet treat filled afternoon tea in Suffolk.
A friend of mine recently complained she was sick of afternoon tea – a year of 40th birthday parties for close girly pals having transported her across the length and breadth of Suffolk for cake and scones, writes Charlotte Smith-Jarvis.
I can’t imagine tiring of the occasion myself.
Diving into multiple tiers of cream, sponge and fancies, simultaneously whiling away a few hours with idle chat and a pot of steaming tea is my idea of heaven.
Here are a few delicacies I’ve concocted for you to try at home.
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Chocolate Broadside puffs - makes around 10
Beer and chocolate go hand-in-hand. The beer’s malty aromas and bitter notes cut through the sweetness of cocoa, creating a really interesting flavour. Here the two ingredients are combined to make a unique ganache that omits the need for cream.
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It goes against everything you know about chocolate – which usually hates liquid – and is perfect for people with a dairy intolerance. The result is fluffy and creamy.
I used Hadleigh Maid chocolate. There will be leftover ganache and beer for the cook.
• Heat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray.
• Make the pastry. Melt the butter in a pan with the water but don’t boil.
• Remove from the heat and beat in the flour until it comes away from the sides in a ball.
• Cool a little then beat in the eggs bit by bit until you have a dropping consistency.
• Pipe or spoon in 1.5ins circles onto your tray, leaving a few centimetres between each.
• Bake for 12 minutes, pierce a hole in the bottom of each one, turn the oven to 170C and cook for a further five minutes and cool.
• Make the ganache. Melt the dark and milk chocolate together and place in a bowl.
• Simmer the Broadside.
• Add the beer a few tablespoons at a time to the chocolate, beating with a fork.
• It will go stiff and grainy to begin with, then will relax into a soft ganache.
• Whip with an electric whisk until lighter and moussy.
• Make a hole in the bottom of your pastry and pipe or spoon in the ganache mousse.
• For the topping follow the same process.
• Melt the dark chocolate, boil the beer and add it bit by bit until smooth and thick but do not whisk.
• Spoon over the pastries.
Cherry and coconut scones - makes 16 using a small fluted scone cutter
Truly yummy scones that are a little bit different. Serve with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Don’t handle the mix too much or it will become too dense.
• Pre heat the oven to 220C.
• Place the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl and rub together with your fingers until the butter disappears.
• Add the cherries, coconut and milk and bring together but don’t knead too much.
• Flour a surface and roll the dough out until it’s almost as thick as the cutter you are using.
• Cut out the dough, turning the scones over as you put them on a baking tray (this helps them rise more).
•Bake for 10 minutes and serve warm.
White chocolate passion cakes - makes 10 mini loaves or 12 muffins
Beneath the fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream is a beautifully soft mud cake sponge, studded with zingy Scarlett and Mustard’s Passionfruit and Lemon Curd (you must try this, it’s delicious).
I used mini silicone loaf moulds from Lakeland Limited, but you could bake these in a muffin tray.
• For the cake preheat the oven to 160C. Place the moulds on a flat baking tray.
• Melt the sugar, butter, white chocolate, vanilla and milk together.
• Pour into a large mixing bowl.
• Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer.
• Sift in the flour and baking powder.
• Whisk gently then pour into the cases equally and bake for 25 minutes until risen – a skewer inserted will come away clean.
• Allow to cool.
• For the icing. Simmer a saucepan of water.
• Place the egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl over the water and beat with an electric whisk until very firm and marshmallowy.
• Remove from the heat and beat in melted white chocolate.
• Cool, then whisk in the butter, piece by piece until the icing is firm and moussy.
• Pipe onto the cooled cakes.
Strawberry and rosewater tartlets - makes 20 mini tartlets
This is a lovely way to use up local strawberries. Buy ready made shortcrust pastry to save time, but the buttery, biscuit-like pate sablee is well worth making.
Stick the radio on and enjoy the process.
• For the pastry clear a surface. Pour the flour onto it and make a big well in the centre.
• Place the egg yolks, sugar and butter in the well. Keep the fingers of one hand together and pinch at the butter, pecking to bring it together with the sugar and egg. Do this until no lumps of butter remain.
• Use a palette knife to draw the flour in from the outside and chop it into the butter, then press the knife down on the mix to bring it all together.
• Roll into a ball, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
• Heat the oven to 220C.
• Flour a surface and roll the pastry thinly.
• Line your chosen tart tins with the pastry, cut greaseproof paper to line the insides of the tarts and fill with ceramic baking beans.
• Chill for 15 minutes (this is an important step). Bake for five minutes.
• Turn the oven down to 160C and cook for a further five minutes. Cool.
• Remove the paper and baking beans.
• For the pastry cream.
• Simmer the cream and milk. Beat the sugar, cornflour, egg yolks and whole egg together in a bowl until smooth.
• Whisk the hot milk mix into the egg mix, bit by bit, whisking to prevent lumps.
• Pour the whole thing back into a pan and heat gently, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Beat in the rosewater.
• Cool then fill the tart cases by three quarters.
• Top with whole or sliced strawberries when you are ready to serve (don’t do this in advance as the juices will make the tarts soggy) and glaze with some warmed jam.
Sticky ginger and earl grey teabread
I’ve grown to appreciate fruit cake as I’ve gotten older and this one’s a cracker.
You really can taste the aromatic bergamot notes of the tea, which work brilliantly with exotic Chinese stem ginger.
• Start the day before.
• Simmer the butter, sugar, water, sultanas and teabags together for 10 minutes.
• Allow to cool and steep for two hours.
• Remove the teabags and leave overnight.
• The next day beat in the eggs and the rest of the cake ingredients.
• Heat the oven to 160C, line a 1lb loaf tin, pour in the mix and bake for 50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
• Cool in the tin then slice and cut each slice in half.
• Place these on greaseproof paper.
• For the syrup simmer the lemon juice, sugar, water and teabag together until the sugar is melted and the texture of Vaseline (take a bit out on a spoon, let it cool a little and rub it between your fingers).
• Pour the syrup over the cake slices and finish with pieces of stem ginger.