Now, there is nothing remotely medieval or renaissance about a formal tea. It is a Victorian invention. However, our group has strong roots in Victorian Gothic Romanticism. I don't think it is a great sin to acknowledge that. Besides, how cool is it to sit in the shade, nibble delicacies, and chat the afternoon away?
The Queen expressed a preference for leaning toward savory. I tried to pick a menu that reflected that.
For the savory course, we made two items. For the first, I did a riff on the classic BLT. When shopping at the El Cajon Farmer's Market, I found a little local company, Jackie's Jams. She had a tomato jam, and I just had to try it. It was really good, and I bought a jar. I thought it
The second savory item was a lettuce cup with curried tuna salad. The intent was to use all endive, but the head we bought didn't have quite enough leaves, so I used some heart of romaine as well. The tuna is a simple mix of canned tuna, mayonnaise, curry powder, and hot curry paste.
Princess Tea, the only difference being that I did not sprinkle the top with sugar after brushing them with cream.
I also made some gluten free scones, as we had an attendee that was gluten intolerant. The gluten free scones were made with Bisquick Gluten Free Mix. I followed the biscuit recipe on the box, but substituted heavy cream for the milk, to get a richer scone.
We then made a choice of four toppings, two savory and two sweet. For the savory, I made a chili lime butter, and a pesto butter. For the sweet, I made kiwi curd and the spouse made mock Devonshire cream. The kiwi curd was sweeter than I'd expected, and set up a little soft, but it seemed to be popular.
For the sweet course, the spouse made rose tea shortbread cookies, and I made safflower infused white modeling chocolate roses.
I wanted to make yellow roses, and I'd hoped to use natural color to do it. I originally planned to use saffron, but realized I was out, and couldn't find any on short notice, but safflower was easily available. I couldn't get a deep enough color, so added some commercial coloring paste. The safflower added a bit of a savory note to the rather sweet modeling chocolate. Modeling chocolate is just white chocolate and corn syrup.
I included instructions for making a modeling chocolate rose in this post.
Curried Tuna Salad3 cans tuna, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. hot curry paste
salt to taste
In a bowl, mix all ingredients until tuna is well moistened.
Chili Lime Butter8 oz. by wt. butter, softened
1 ripe jalapeno chili
zest of 6 key limes
juice of two key limes
kosher salt to taste
Char outside of chili over open flame. Remove skin, seeds, and inner membranes. Mince.
Mash together butter, chili, zest, juice, and salt until well blended.
Pesto Butter8 oz. by wt. butter
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. minced garlic
kosher salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Run until butter is smooth.
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup kiwi fruit puree
pinch kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until curd thickens, about ten minutes.
Strain curd. cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in freezer for 20 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to finish cooling.
Mock Devonshire Cream8 oz. by wt. cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Add rest of ingredients, whisk until stiff peaks form.
Rose Tea Cookies1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. Scottish Breakfast tea
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. rose water
1/2 cup butter
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together rose water and water. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugars, salt, and tea leaves until tea is well incorporated. Add vanilla, 1 tsp. of the diluted rose water, and butter. Pulse until a dough forms.
On a floured surface, roll dough very thin. Cut out cookies, place on an ungreased sheet pan. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Safflower Infused Modeling Chocolate1 cup corn syrup
1 cup safflowers
10 oz. by wt. white chocolate
In a microwave safe bowl, combine corn syrup and safflowers. Heat in microwave until syrup just begins to boil.
Remove from microwave. Let cool to room temperature. Strain.
In a double boiler, melt chocolate to 100 F. Add 1/3 cup of the safflower infused corn syrup. Mix with a spatula until smooth and shiny. Let stand at least 4 hours before using. If kept refrigerated, good for up to one month.
Combine with rubber spatula until smooth and shiny. Let sit 4 hours to over night.