By CHARLOTTE WALLER
According to ancient legend, a Chinese emperor discovered tea in the 28th century B.C. The emperor boiled his drinking water for health reasons. When an evergreen leaf fell into his water, he loved the taste, and the news spread. Soon tea became part of the Chinese culture and others, from 17th-century England to the American colonies and the famous Boston Tea Party. Here are three recipes to use for your own tea party!
First course: Tea sandwiches
Afternoon tea sandwiches are made from thinly sliced bread with crusts removed. Spread bread slices with unsalted butter, herb butter, mayonnaise or cream cheese. Add filling and cut into desired shapes. For open-faced sandwiches, top with a garnish for a perfect finishing touch. Decorate trays with paper or crochet doilies, fresh flowers or herbs.
Pimento and cheese sandwiches
- 1 pound hoop cheese, grated
- 1 small can pimentos, chopped fine (reserve some sliced, not chopped, for garnish)
- Dash of garlic powder
- Dash of Worcestershire
- 1 cup mayonnaise (more if needed to make a good spread)
- 1 loaf rye cocktail bread
Mix cheese, pimentos, garlic powder, Worcestershire and mayonnaise, and spread on rye slices. Top rye slices with pimento slice for garnish.
NOTE: The pimento cheese spread will keep for weeks in refrigerator.
Second course: Scones and toppings
Scones are simple to make. However, a packaged scone mix can also deliver good results. You can add extras to scones if desired. Try cut-up apples, currants, cinnamon, apricots, fresh blueberries, cranberries, walnuts or chocolate chips.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
- Lightly beaten eggs
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in 6 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles course cornmeal. Make a well in center of batter and pour in buttermilk. Mix until dough clings together and is a bit sticky — do not over-mix. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and shape into a 6- to 8-inch round, about 1½ inches thick. Quickly cut into pie wedges or use a round biscuit cutter to make circles. The secret of tender scones is a minimum of handling. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, being sure scones don’t touch each other. Brush with egg for a shiny, beautiful brown scone. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-20 minutes or until light brown.
NOTE: For a sweet treat, soak sugar cubes in orange juice for less than 1 minute, then press into top of warm, plain scone.
Third course: Delectable desserts
Easy and delicious chess squares
- 1 stick oleo, melted
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 beaten egg
- Mix and spread on bottom of an oblong greased casserole or cookie sheet with sides.
Top with a mixture of the following:
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
- 1 box sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut into small squares when cool.
*Recipes and text taken from “A Heavenly Tea,” © 2008 by Charlotte B. Waller.