Back to the Kitchen: Tea Party Recipes for Valentine’s Day and Other Occasions

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BY GWEN KENNEALLY

Who doesn’t love a tea party—especially on Valentine’s Day? When I create special events, I enjoy mixing traditions and customizing them to fit the tastes of my clients. Recently, I did a party for someone who loves my ginger scones, but is not a super lover of chocolate, so I made a lemon rosemary cake and tea sandwiches. But you could always add chocolate covered strawberries. Let these recipes also inspire you for a family gathering, a special birthday even a bridal or baby shower. And don’t forget the champagne—peach is always a nice twist.

A Tea Party is perfect for many occasions.

Ginger Scones

This is by far my most requested scone. At the end of the recipe I’ll give you variations, but be creative! I also like to do a basket of assorted minis so that the guests can experience many flavors.

2 1/4 cups flour

1/3-cup sugar

1-tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into fine pieces and frozen*

1 cup candied ginger, finely chopped

1-cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones

In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder and mix on low. Add the lemon zest and butter, and pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of fine meal.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the ginger. Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather it into a ball. Pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inches thick. Using a three-inch cookie cutter (or smaller if doing minis) cut out rounds. Gather the scraps, pat and press the pieces back together, and cut out the remaining dough. Place the scones 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining cream. Bake in a pre heated 400-degree oven for 12 to 16 minutes, until they are pale browned. Let cool on a rack

*NOTE:  If you take your butter and grate it with the large wholes of a cheese grater before freezing, you will get the butter more evenly distributed. This works really well with pies as well

Variations:

Replace the ginger and the lemon zest with:

Cranberry orange scones- juice of one small orange, 2 teaspoons orange zest and one cup dried cranberries.

Rosemary garlic scones- four cloves garlic chopped fine and sauté until golden. Add with the flour with 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary.

Chocolate chip scones-add with the flour one and a half cups mini chocolate chips.

Devonshire Cream

2 cups unpasteurized, high fat content milk

Pour unpasteurized, high fat content milk into stainless steel bowl. Put in the refrigerator overnight. Take bowl and place gently place over a pan of lightly boiling water. Boil about one hour or until cream starts to bubble and rises around the edge. 
Remove from heat and place bowl into a bowl of ice water to cool quickly and then place in refrigerator. Skim cream off top, place in covered container and keep refrigerated. Use within a few days.

Lemon Curd

3 eggs

6 tablespoons melted butter

1-cup bakers sugar (super fine)

Juice and zest from 3 Lemons

Beat the eggs and melted butter. Add the sugar and beat thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and zest and combined well. Place in the top of a double broiler and stir constantly until thickened. Chill overnight.

 Quick and Easy Strawberry Jam

2 pints fresh strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 envelope Sure-Jell No cook jam pectin

1/2 cup warm water

Hull and crush strawberries, yielding to 2 cups of prepared fruit. Mix together, prepared fruit and sugar in a large bowl. Let set for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Slowly pour the pectin into the warm water, while stirring constantly. Then add to the fruit mixture. Stir for 5 minutes.Pour into three – one cup containers, leaving about 1/2 inch (2.5 cm.) space from top. Place in refrigerator and cool for 24 hours before using.

Carrot Ginger Tea Sandwiches

3 grated carrots

6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons ginger, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

6 slices multi-grain bread

6 teaspoons unsalted butter

Alfalfa sprouts

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, cream cheese and ginger; add salt and pepper. Spread one side of each piece of bread lightly with butter. Top the buttered side of 2 slices of bread with carrot/ginger mixture (about 1/4-inch thick). Top with alfalfa sprouts and top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again.

Cucumber Tea Sandwich

1 seedless cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced (about 32 slices)

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

1/2 cup chopped watercress

16 slices white bread

Salt to taste

In a small bowl combine cream cheese and watercress. Spread on one side of each side of bread. Lay cucumbers onto the cream cheese on 8 slices of bread. Sprinkle with salt. Top the remaining slice of bread cream cheese side down. Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a sharp knife. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then in half again.

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

8 hard-boiled eggs

1/2-cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

3-tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

20 slices white bread

Peel eggs and place into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork. Add salt, pepper, mayonnaise and dill. Mix until well blended. On 10 slices of bread spread on 2 tablespoons of egg mixture and top with remaining sides of bread. Carefully cut off crusts and cut diagonally then cut in half again.

Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Fig Tea Sandwiches

8 ounces goat cheese at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter, softened

12 slices crusty French bread

8 fresh figs, trimmed and sliced lengthwise

1/2 pound paper-thinly sliced prosciutto

12 arugula leaves, tough stems discarded

Stir together the goat cheese and pepper with a fork. Spread butter on 6 pieces of bread. Layer the peppered goat cheese, figs, prosciutto, and arugula. Place the other six pieces of bread to make sandwiches.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 scallions, minced

1 tablespoon dill, minced

1 tablespoon capers, drained

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

Pepper to taste

2 teaspoons butter, room temperature

8 slices pumpernickel bread

4 pieces smoked salmon

12 cucumber slices, sliced thin

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, scallions, dill, capers, horseradish, and pepper; set aside. Spread butter thinly over pumpernickel bread slices; spread mayonnaise mixture on each bread slice. Divide salmon and cucumber slices evenly over 4 slices of bread; top with remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally.

Curried Chicken Sandwiches

3 pounds chicken breasts

Poached, cooled to room temperature, cut into 1/4-inch chunks*

2 granny smith apples, finely chopped

3 celery ribs, finely chopped

2-4 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Juice of one lime

16 slices raisin bread

In a small bowl whisk together curry, ginger, limejuice and mayonnaise. In a large bowl mix the chicken, celery and apples. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken mixture and coat evenly. Divide 8 ways and place on raisin bread and quarter each on the diagonal.

*Note: Whether it is for chicken salads or pasta or green salads, this is the simplest way to cook chicken breasts. (It even works for the frozen breasts in a bag.) Everyone says that my chicken is so tender. Place the breasts in a pot. Fill to cover with cold water. Add what ever you have and like. Garlic, salt, pepper onions, carrots, celery, fresh herbs, white wine. Bring to a boil and remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. It will be the most tender, amazing chicken ever.

Pear and Stilton Tea Sandwiches

6 very thin slices honey-oat Bread

2 tablespoons butter softened

2 ripe pears, halved and thinly sliced

lemon juice

4 tablespoons crumbled Stilton Cheese

Spread each bread slice with the softened butter.

Sprinkle the sliced pears with the lemon juice. Place 1/2 of the pear slices in a single layer on one slice of bread.

Top with half of the crumbled cheese and the second bread slice. Repeat using the remaining pear slices, cheese and bread.

Lemon Rosemary Pound Cake

I have the biggest rosemary bush at my house. I am constantly creating dishes to take advantage of this. I love lemon pound cake with poppy seeds and once when I was out I added rosemary. People are always requesting it.

1-cup butter

2 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped

3 teaspoons lemon zest

4 eggs

1-cup sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup lemon juice

1-teaspoon baking powder

1/4-teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with bakers joy. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter, zest, and rosemary and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add vanilla. On low speed add flour baking powder and salt until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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