Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ladies of the Rose Tea

Within the medieval group I play with, there is a group of women that have served previously as Queen. They are know as the Ladies of the Rose, and their symbol is a yellow rose. I suggested to the current queen that I'd like to do a tea for these ladies. She thought this sounded like a great idea.

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
would be a great idea to build a BLT around the jam. We got some good, crusty sourdough bread, and I toasted it on the grill. I then cut it into squares. We spread a thin layer of tomato jam on the bread, place a piece of bacon the size of the bread on top. We put a little dab of jam on the bacon, to act as glue for the chiffonaded bronze leaf lettuce that went on last.

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.

For the scone course, I decided to keep it simple, and I made just one kind of scone, the cream scones I made for the 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 Salad

3 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 Butter

8 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 Butter

8 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.

Kiwi Curd

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 Cream

8 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 Cookies

1 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 Chocolate

1 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.
Happy Eating!


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