Remember the afternoon tea I told you about a while ago? Well, I did go and it was fantastic. I kept on postponing this post because I wanted to give you the recipes of what we had (my friend Fernanda and I) and even if they are not exactly what we ate they come pretty close. We had all sort of afternoon fancies, finger sandwiches, cake and, of course, the quintessential English afternoon tea must: scones with jam and clotted cream.
Summer berry tartlets – from Afternoon tea by Susannah Blake
3 tbsp. ground almonds
100g plain flour
1 tbsp. caster sugar
50g butter, chilled and diced
2 tbsp. water
80ml crème fraîche
1 ½-2 tbsp. good quality lemon curd
200g summer berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants
icing sugar, to dust (optional)
a 6.5 cm biscuit cutter
a 12-hole tartlet tin, greased
Put the almonds, flour and caster sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water until the mixture comes together into a dough. If necessary, add a drizzle more water. Press into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out rounds with the biscuit cutter, pressing the trimmings together to make more rounds. Press the rounds into the prepared tartlet tin and prick the bases with a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C (375°F) Gas 5 for about 12 minutes until crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To serve, fold together the crème fraîche and lemon curd in a small bowl. Put spoonfuls of the mixture in the bottom of each pastry case, top with berries and dust with icing sugar, if liked.
Finger Sandwiches – from Afernoon Tea by Susannah Blake
12 thin slices of white or wholemeal bread
butter, at room temperature, for spreading
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parma ham and fig filling:
40g thinly sliced Parma ham
1 ripe fig
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. olive oil
a handful of rocket leaves
Egg and cress filling
2 tbsp. good-quality mayonnaise
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
2 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and chopped
a handful of cress
Stilton and pear filling
50g Stilton cheese, thinly sliced
To make the Parma ham and fig sandwiches, thinly butter 4 slices of bread and fold the ham on top of 2 of them. Cut the fig into thin wedges, remove and discard the skin, then arrange the wedges on top of the ham. Whisk the vinegar and olive oil together in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the fig. Scatter rocket leaves on top, then top with the remaining slices of buttered bread.
To cut the sandwiches, lay your hand on top of the sandwich and press down gently. Using a serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion, cut off the crusts. Next, cut the sandwich diagonally into quarters or lengthways into 3 fingers.
To make the egg and cress sandwiches, thinly butter 4 slices of bread. Combine the mayonnaise and lemon zest and season with black pepper. Add the hard-boiled eggs and fold together.
Divide the mixture between 2 slices of the buttered bread and spread out evenly. Top with cress and the remaining slices of buttered bread, then cut as described above.
To make the Stilton and pear sandwiches, thinly butter 4 slices of bread. Arrange the Stilton over 2 slices of the buttered bread. Slice the pear into thin wedges, remove and discard the core, then arrange on top of the cheese. Season with black pepper, then top with the remaining slices of buttered bread and cut as described above.
Ritz sandwiches – adapted from The London Café Book 2
Smoked salmon sandwiches
Thinly sliced cucumber, seasoned with pepper
Sundried tomato butter
Thinly sliced ham
Cream cheese sandwiches
Finely snipped chives
Hard-boiled eggs, mashed
To make the perfect finger sandwiches, slice the bread lengthways, remove the crust and straighten the edges. Make up the large rectangular sandwiches with the ingredients above, then cut them into eight equal fingers.
Arrange one of each type of the five different sandwiches in a ‘raft’, to be served to each person. Continue to serve rafts of sandwiches until everyone is full.
Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam – from Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
good-quality strawberry jam
a 4-5 or 5-cm biscuit cutter
a baking sheet, greased
Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process for about 20 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Transfer to a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Beat together the egg and milk in another bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon of the mixture in a separate bowl. Pour most of the remaining liquid into the flour mixture and bring together into a soft dough using a fork. If there are still dry crumbs, add a little more of the liquid. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Work in a little more flour if the mixture is sticky. Gently pat or roll out the dough to about 2.5 cm thick and cut out rounds using the biscuit cutter, pressing the trimmings together to make more scones.
Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart, and brush the tops with the reserved egg and milk mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C (425°F) Gas 7 for about 8 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with clotted cream and strawberry jam.