Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Taste of Europe - Tea Time!

A Taste of Europe

When we think of England and food, the first association we make is Tea! Not just the beverage, although that's a given, but we also think of a light afternoon meal that is distinctly British. 

Great Britain

However, there are actually two meals commonly called Tea, so we need to be clear which one we're talking about today. High Tea is the name often given to the evening meal eaten between 5 and 7pm, which would be a hot dish followed by cakes and bread with butter and jam. Traditionally, High Tea was eaten by children whose parents would have a more formal meal later in the evening, and by workers when arriving home after work. Many folks in Scotland and in the northern part of England might refer to their midday meal as dinner and their evening meal as Tea as well. 

So the type of meal that we usually think of is the Afternoon Tea. It is a light meal taken in the late afternoon, consisting of small sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. And of course, accompanied by tea with milk and sugar. 

It was so easy to get Kennady interested in trying afternoon tea! She really wanted to have a friend over for tea and make it an occasion, but timing was a bit of an issue so our two tea time foods weren't actually served at tea time, but as an evening snack (along with our shortbread) and as an addition to breakfast the next morning.

No matter what time of day they're eaten, Chelsea Buns and Cream Scones are delicious!
A Taste of Europe - Tea Time

Chelsea Buns (a variation of Rich Scones)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, beat egg lightly and add milk. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir with a fork to make a soft dough. (our dough was really soft - in hindsight I probably should have added a bit more flour because it was just a little too soft and sticky to work with easily.) 

For Rich Scones: Pat the dough into two 6-inch rounds and place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Score each scone into six pie-shaped wedges. Bake at 425* for 15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Serve warm, split into wedges and slathered with butter. Yum!

For Chelsea Buns: Grease bottoms of 12 muffin cups thickly with butter or margarine, then sprinkle with brown sugar in a fairly thick layer. Sprinkle a few currants and chopped nuts into each cup as well. (We left out the nuts.) Roll out the rich scone dough into a 9x9 square. Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) and spread over the dough. Roll up like a jelly roll, slice into 12 rounds and place one in each prepared muffin cup. Bake at 450* for 12-15 minutes. Glaze when cool with 1/2 cup icing sugar mixed with enough water to make a thin glaze. Delicious!
A Taste of Europe - Chelsea Buns recipe
  prepared muffin cups
The baked Chelsea buns before I took them out of the muffin tin - and here you can see why I think I left our dough just a bit too soft. Even though the dough was rolled up jelly roll style, it was so soft that it didn't retain that spiral look. I hardly think it affected the taste!
A Taste of Europe - Chelsea Bun recipe

A Taste of Europe - Cream Scones recipe
I had probably a dozen scone recipes to choose from, but we went with simple and made Cream Scones. It's a great recipe for using up heavy whipping cream you might have left over.

Cream Scones
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add eggs, cream, and milk to the dry ingredients and stir until a soft ball of dough forms. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times. Pat or roll out to about 1 inch thick. Cut with a round cookie cutter. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet close together if you want soft sides or an inch apart for crisp sides. Brush tops with a bit of milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425* for 15 minutes until risen and browned. Makes about 2 dozen scones. 

Since the Cream Scones are so much like sweet, rich biscuits (I love them served warm with butter and raspberry jam), I am including them in my European Bread Basket. When Kennady and I have been scouting recipes from all over Europe, we notice lots of different kinds of breads, and we are especially fond of bread so... we made it a sub-category for our culinary tour of Europe!

Homeschool Coffee Break: European Bread Basket

This post is linked at Try a New Recipe Tuesday, hosted by Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos

This post was added to the Throwback Thursday Blog-Style link-up hosted by Tots and Me... Growing Up Together! on November 12, 2015.

Tots and Me

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