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Open-Faced Watercress, Nasturtium, and Cucumber-Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Open-Faced Watercress, Nasturtium, and Cucumber-Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Open-Faced Watercress, Nasturtium, and Cucumber-Cream Cheese Sandwiches

 

40 unsprayed nasturtium flowers, washed and dried

1 large bunch of fresh watercress, washed, dried, and large stems removed

8 ounces cream cheese, softe3ned

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

6 slices of hearty whole-grain bread, such as rye, whole wheat, or multi-grain

 

Setting aside 12 nasturtium flowers for garnish, finely julienne the rest with a sharp knife. Setting aside 6 watercress sprigs for garnish, finely chop the remaining watercress. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese with the chopped flowers, chopped watercress, cucumber, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend together. Remove the cream cheese mixture from the refrigerator half an hour before serving to allow it to soften slightly. With a sharp knife, finely julienne 6 of the reserved nasturtium flowers. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread slices. Top each slice with some red onion slices and a sprinkling of the julienned flowers. To serve, place 1 slice of the prepared bread on each plate, and top with a whole nasturtium flower and a watercress sprig.

Ham & Cheese Scones

Ham & Cheese Scones

Ham & Cheese Scones

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup diced ham (can use cooked bacon or pancetta)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until a soft dough forms. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into an 8″ circle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges. Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Hard Candy Lollipops with Edible Flowers

Hard Candy Lollipops with Edible Flowers

Hard Candy Lollipops with Edible Flowers

– Medium heavy bottom saucepan

– Candy thermometer

– 2″ flat round hard candy lollipop mold

– Lollipop sticks

– Nonstick cooking spray

– Pyrex 2 C. measuring cup

– Pastry brush

– Cookie sheet or marble slab

– Parchment paper

– Edible flowers to fit inside the 2″D flat candy mold

 

– 1 C. of granulated sugar

– 1/3 C. of corn syrup

– ½ C. of water

– 2 tsp. of flavoring oil if using

 

Prepare your molds by lightly spraying them with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare either a marble slab or an upside-down cookie sheet (air underneath the sheet will help the candy to cool faster), by covering with parchment paper and spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Place molds on a cookie sheet or marble slab. Combine sugar and water in a medium heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Once boiling, stop stirring as soon as the syrup starts to boil and insert a candy thermometer. Allow to boil, without stirring, until candy reaches 250°F (121°C). If you plan to add food coloring, add it at this point and allow the liquid to continue boiling.  Once the candy reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit (known as hard crack stage), remove it from heat, add flavoring of your choice and pour into the Pyrex measuring cup. Allow liquid to sit until it stops bubbling completely. This will prevent bubbles from forming in your poured lollipops. Working quickly, pour a scant amount of hard candy liquid into each mold, enough just to cover the bottom. Place an edible flower FACE DOWN on the liquid in each mold. Add a lollipop stick to each mold and continue pouring to fill each mold. If liquid becomes too thick to easily pour, simply reheat in the microwave on high for about 15 seconds and continue filling the molds. NOTE: The flower is placed face down so that the correct side of the flower will be on the front side of the completed lollipop. Allow to cool completely and remove from mold once hardened. Store Lollipops individually wrapped, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to a month.

Wildflower Violet Popcorn

Wildflower Violet Popcorn

Wildflower Violet Popcorn

1 C. Popcorn in 1/4 C. increments

1/4 C. Butter

1/4 C. Coconut Oil

Sea Salt

Fresh edible flowers OR sugared violets or other sugared flowers

 

Gather fresh, edible flowers.  Be sure you know what you’re foraging – some wild blooms are NOT edible.  You may also use sugared violets or other sugared flowers in your violet popcorn. If using fresh flowers, gently shake off any dust or debris.  If you must rinse them, place them in a salad spinner to get them as dry as possible.  Place them on a towel or dehydrator rack to dry completely.  You may also place your blooms in the refrigerator for a bit, if you can’t use them right away.  Work quickly, though – blooms like violets will begin to curl up and fade rather quickly. Using an air popper, pop up fresh popcorn in 1/4 C. increments. OR, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your air popper.  As the popper is popping, slowly melt the butter and coconut oil on the stove top. Once the popcorn is popped, add melted fats a few T. at a time to the popcorn bowl as you sprinkle with sea salt and stir gently. Repeat this process, adding fat, salt and stirring until all the melted fats are gone. Allow to cool completely. Gently toss in fresh edible flowers or sugared violets.

 

Calendula

Cornflowers

Cosmos

Dianthus

Field Daisies

Johnny jumps-ups (violas)

Pansies

Pineapple Sage Blossoms

Red Bud blossoms

Rose Petals

Sweet William

Violets.

Tea Party Lemonade

Tea Party Lemonade

1 large can frozen pink lemonade
1 ½ quarts sparkling water
½ c. mint leaves, chopped
½ tsp. ground cloves

Blend the pink lemonade with the sparkling water and stir to dissolve. Add mint and cloves. Serve over crushed ice in a tall glass.

Garden Phyllo Quiches

Garden Phyllo Quiches

db655050-ef78-47d3-ab38-1f3a4573b6b42 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain

2 C. sliced fresh mushrooms (6 oz.)

2 C. milk

1 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 eggs

8 frozen (thawed) phyllo sheets (18 x 14 inches)

4 tsp. butter or margarine, melted

1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)

 

Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 10- or 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Cook spinach and mushrooms in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and mushrooms are tender; remove from heat.   Mix milk, mustard, salt, nutmeg and eggs; set aside.   Spray eight 6-oz. custard cups with cooking spray. Place 1 phyllo sheet on flat surface; lightly brush with butter. Top with 3 phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Cut phyllo into fourths. Place 1 phyllo section in each custard cups. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets. Trim overhanging edge of phyllo 1 inch from rim of cups.   Drain spinach mixture; divide evenly among cups. Pour about 1/3 C. egg mixture into each C.. Fold edges of phyllo toward center.   Arrange custard cups in jelly roll pan, 15 1/2×10 1/2×1 inch. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.   Serve these festive quiches on a drizzle of roasted red pepper puree, or accompany with chutney.

 

 

Smoked Salmon Spread

Smoked Salmon Spread

12oz. Light Cream Cheese

1/2 C. Sour Cream

1 tsp. Liquid Smoke

1 tsp. Lemon Juice

11/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1/8 tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. Pepper

15 1/2 oz. Can Red Salmon, drained

2 tsp. Celery, chopped

2 tsp. Green Onion, chopped

 

Allow cream cheese to reach room temperature.  Remove skin from salmon.  Blend first seven ingredients in blender.  Remove from blender and stir in salmon, celery and onion.  This is a delicious spread on raw vegetables or crackers.

 

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches with Tarragon Butter

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches with Tarragon Butter

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches with Tarragon Butter1 large English cucumber, peeled, sliced paper thin

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. white vinegar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon

1/4 cup minced fresh chervil

30 thin slices whole-wheat bread, enough to make 72 (2x4inch) rectangles

Watercress leaves, optional

 

Put cucumber slices in large bowl. Toss with salt. Sprinkle with vinegar. Toss to mix well. Let stand 1 hour. Drain well in colander. Combine butter, tarragon and chervil. To assemble, spread butter over 1 side of each bread slice. Cover 15 slices with cucumbers, dividing evenly. Close sandwiches. Trim crusts. Cut into 36 rectangles. Arrange on platter, garnished with watercress leaves.

Fairy Bread

Fairy Bread


Bread slices (white bread is best)

Sprinkles

Butter or margarine

 

Take out white bread, cut off the crusts. Or, leave them on. The fairy bread looks and tastes better when you use white bread, but any kind is okay.  Spread some butter. Margarine can be used as a substitute but butter tastes better to many people.  Put sprinkles on top.  Cut the bread into different shapes. Triangles are traditional for fairy bread shapes.  Serve on a pretty plate. You can also substitute the butter for nutella. It gives it a lovely chocolate taste.

A Collection of Tea Sandwiches

A Collection of Tea Sandwiches

Curried chicken salad

 

2 C. diced chicken

3/4 C. Mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. Curry powder

1/2 tsp. Lemon juice

1/2 tsp. Chutney

 

Mix ingredients together and spread over bread.  Use cookie cutters to trim into fun shapes.  Decorate with edible flowers, berries, or springs of herbs.

 

 

Chili Pepper-Cilantro Butter:

 

1 stick salted butter, softened

1 red chili pepper, finely chopped

1 tsp. cilantro

1 1/2 tsp. lime juice

 

Mash butter and mix in remaining ingredients. Spread over bread.  Use cookie cutters to trim into fun shapes.  Decorate with edible flowers, berries, or springs of herbs.

 

 

Rosemary-Garlic Butter

 

1 stick salted butter, softened

1 T. fresh rosemary

1 clove garlic, minced

 

Mash butter and mix in remaining ingredients. Spread over bread.  Use cookie cutters to trim into fun shapes.  Decorate with edible flowers, berries, or springs of herbs.

 

 

Scallion-Ginger Butter

 

1 stick salted butter, softened

1 T. minced scallions

1 1/2 tsp. grated gingerroot

1 tsp. rice-wine vinegar

 

Mash butter and mix in remaining ingredients. Spread over bread.  Use cookie cutters to trim into fun shapes.  Decorate with edible flowers, berries, or springs of herbs.

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

 

 

 

Love Letter Pastries

Love Letter Pastries

Love Letter Pastries

1 pie crust, refrigerated

Peaches, sliced

Strawberries, sliced

Pears, sliced

Raspberries, sliced

Sugar

Flour

Whipping cream

 

Sprinkle flour over the cutting board and unroll the pie crust. Cut off the edges of the pie crust to form a square, then cut the large square into four smaller, even squares. Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut four small hearts from the leftover edge pieces of the pie crust. Place the four squares of pie crust onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Arrange slices of peaches and strawberries on two of the squares, then place slices of pear and raspberries onto the other two. Sprinkle sugar and flour over the fruit, then fold three corners of the pie crust inward to form the “envelope.” Place the small heart-shaped piece of pie crust at the meeting point of the three corners and brush with whipping cream. Bake the fruit-filled love letters at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, then share with the ones you love!

Striped Ribbon Sandwiches

Striped Ribbon Sandwiches

Vegetable cooking spray
2 1/2 C. chopped red bell pepper
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 T. tomato paste
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3/4 C. seeded and coarsely shredded peeled cucumber
1/2 C. nonfat cream cheese
1/2 C. (2 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
16 (1/2-oz.) slices very thin white bread
8 (1/2-oz.) slices very thin whole-wheat bread
Parsley sprigs (optional)

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add bell pepper and onion; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Combine bell pepper mixture, tomato paste, 1/8 tsp. salt, and black pepper in food processor, and process until smooth. Return mixture to skillet, and cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until thickened. Spoon mixture into a bowl, and let cool; cover and chill. Place cucumber on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels, pressing until barely moist. Combine the cream cheese, blue cheese,1/8 tsp. salt, and ground red pepper in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Stir in cucumber; cover and chill. Spread 2 T. bell pepper mixture over each of 8 slices of white bread; top each with a slice of wheat bread. Spread 2 T. cucumber mixture over each slice of wheat bread; top with remaining white bread. Trim crusts from sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into quarters, making rectangles, squares, or triangles. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired. Note: If made ahead, cover sandwiches with a slightly damp paper towel and plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container.

Yield: 32 servings
Serving size: 1 sandwich

Calories: 33
Fat: 0.8g
Fiber: 0.4g

Jam-Streaked Scones

Jam-Streaked Scones

Jam-Streaked Scones

2 C. (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 C. (50 grams) granulated white sugar

2 tsp. (8 grams) baking powder

1/4 tsp. (1 gram) salt

1/2 C. (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/2 C. (120 ml/grams) cream (can use half-and-half, light or heavy whipping cream)

1/4 C. (60 ml) (70 grams) jam or preserves

 

1 large egg

1 T. cream

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.   In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a bowl whisk the cream with the beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until the flour mixture is moistened and a dough is starting to form. Do not over mix. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then divide the dough in half (about 290 grams for each half). Pat or roll each half of the dough into a circle that is about 8 inches (20 cm) round.  Egg Wash: In a small bowl whisk the egg and cream. Spread the jam on one round of the dough, leaving about a one inch (2.5 cm) border. Brush the border with the egg wash. Then place the second round of dough on top of the jam, gently sealing the edges. Crimp the edges of the dough with the tines of a fork. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash. (This helps to brown the tops of the scones during baking.) Bake for about 18 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.   If desired, garnish with a dollop of Devon cream or softly whipped cream. These scones are best the day they are made, but can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days or they can be frozen.

Tomato-Cheddar Scones

Tomato-Cheddar Scones

Tomato-Cheddar Scones

2 C./240 g all-purpose flour

2 T. granulated sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

4 T./55 g cold, unsalted butter

2 ounces/60 g shredded Cheddar cheese

1 large egg

1/2 C./120 ml milk, plus more as needed

1/2 C./120 ml Tomato Jam

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture, until the flour mixture is pebbly with the butter. Add the shredded cheese and work that in as well. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add the milk. Gently work the wet ingredients into the dry with a fork or wooden spoon. Add more liquid, a T. at a time, as needed. You want the dough to be dry enough that you can pat it out and move it, but not so dry that it doesn’t hold together. Roll out and fill the scones using your technique of choice. Cut the scones into 8 wedges and transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned and the scones have achieved some lift.  Recommended Preserves:  I love these with Tomato Jam, but they also work well with apple chutney or onion Jam.

 

Strawberry Jam Tea Cakes

Strawberry Jam Tea Cakes

Strawberry Jam Tea Cakes

1 C. unsalted butter, room temp.

3 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 C. sugar

2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

4 large eggs, separated, room temp.

1/2 C. milk

1 C. strawberry jam

Citrus Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray or brush with butter and dust with flour. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and zest until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; gently fold into the batter. Spoon 2 T. batter into each prepared C.. Make an indentation in the middle of each; fill with 1 T. jam. Top with an additional 2 T. batter, covering jam entirely. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers of top layers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Run a small offset spatula around the edges, and turn the cakes onto wire racks and let cool completely. To finish, drizzle cakes with glaze, and let set, about 30 minutes. Glazed Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days in a single layer at room temperature in airtight containers.

 

Orange Glaze

 

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest

3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

 

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add more sugar to thicken or more juice to thin the glaze. Use immediately.

Ham Spread for Toast, etc

Ham Spread for Toast, etc

1/2 C. 1% Cottage Cheese
2/3 C. Cooked Ham, Finely Chopped
3 T. Low Fat Swiss Cheese, shredded
11/2 T. Fresh Parsley, minced
1/4 tsp. Horseradish
1/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/8 tsp. Poppy Seeds

Process cottage cheese until very smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, cover, and chill thoroughly before using.

Yield: 16 T.
Serving Size: 2 T.

Calories: 45
Fat: 1.2g
Fiber: 0g

Notes: Good on toast, bagels, english muffins, warmed pitas, in a sandwich, you name it. Tasty way to add a little protein to your meal (2 T. has about 7g of protein).

Orange Butter with Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

Orange Butter with Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp. orange juice

1 loaf white tea bread, thinly sliced

Smoked turkey, sliced

Cookie cutter

Organically grown orange nasturtiums

1 bunch watercress

 

In a bowl, whisk together butter and juice.  Spread a thin layer of orange butter onto slice of bread and place a slice of smoked turkey on top. Cut out shapes from bread using cookie cutter.  Top with an orange nasturtium and a sprig of watercress.

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

 

 

 

Matcha Tea Leaf Shortbreads Recipe

Matcha Tea Leaf Shortbreads Recipe

matcha-tea-leaf-shortbreads12 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons matcha (powdered green tea), to taste
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon coarse sanding sugar, optional

Line 2 jelly-roll pans with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk the flour and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed with the flat paddle attachment until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the matcha and beat until the mixture is a uniform green color and very creamy. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating on high speed until very light and fluffy. Turn the machine off, add about one third of the flour, then turn the machine on to low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour, mixing just until blended, scraping down the bowl once or twice. The mixture will look crumbly; if you squeeze it between your fingers, it will come together. Gather it together into a ball with your hands while it is still in the bowl. Roll out the shortbread dough to a 1/4-inch thickness between two pieces of lightly floured parchment. Peel off the top parchment and cut the dough in half. Sprinkle the sanding sugar evenly over one half of the shortbread dough and gently, with hardly any pressure, roll over it with a rolling pin to help it adhere. Using a 2 x 1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible from both doughs and place on the prepared pans 1 inch apart. Use the back of a sharp paring knife to make vein patterns on each shortbread (see photo above). Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight, if desired. Position racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) . Bake the shortbreads for 17 to 22 minutes, or until the cookies are dry and firm to the touch; their color will not change. The shortbreads should retain their shape if you try to pick one up, and there should also be a fragrant butter and matcha scent emanating from the oven. Cool on the pans set on racks for a couple of minutes, and then carefully transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. Store the shortbreads at room temperature for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Tip: I used a “rose leaf” cookie cutter that is just shy of 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, which you can find at Beryl’s. You can certainly use a larger cookie cutter, or even a different shape, but the yield and baking times might change.

Green Goddess Chicken Bites

Green Goddess Chicken Bites

f7bde06d-94fb-4596-b8bf-c59ab5b68bac1 1/2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken (from 2-lb chicken)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons sliced green onions (2 medium)
1/2 cup creamy Italian garlic dressing (from 12-oz jar)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
24 crostini toasts
Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves, if desired

In large bowl, mix chicken, celery and onions. In blender, place dressing, chopped parsley and the tarragon. Cover; blend on low speed 10 seconds. Blend on high speed 20 to 30 seconds or until smooth. Gently stir dressing into chicken mixture. Cover; refrigerate until serving time. Top each toast with 1 tablespoon chicken mixture. Garnish with parsley leaves.

Violet Cardamom Soda

Violet Cardamom Soda

1 C. sugar
1 C. water
3-4 C. loosely packed violets
1 green cardamom pod, crushed
A few cranks of freshly ground black pepper
sparkling water

In a large pan, combine the sugar and water by stirring with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil, and let it roll for one minute. Turn off the heat, and fold in the tiny purple flowers, black pepper, and cardamom. Cover, and let stand for a day. Bring the mixture back to a boil for one minute. Carefully strain out the solids, and reserve them for a future recipe (coming next week). Also with care (for Pete’s sake, don’t burn yourself!), pour the remaining lavender-hued syrup into a sterilized pint jar, and let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating. To make violet cardamom soda, combine 2 T. of violet cardamom syrup (or more, if it suits you) with 16 oz. of icy cold sparkling water.

Lavender Custard (Crème Anglaise á la Lavande)

Lavender Custard (Crème Anglaise á la Lavande)

pear in puff pastry on a pool of Lavender Custard

2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. pesticide-free fresh or dried lavender flowers, without stems

Pour the milk into a saucepan, place over medium heat and heat until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the saucepan, place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and lightly coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Do not allow it to boil. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the custard should register 180°F. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the lavender flowers. Pour the custard into a pitcher, cover with plastic placed directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve. Return the custard to the pitcher, cover with clean plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface, and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.

The Queen of Tarts

The Queen of Tarts

About 1 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine
2/3 C. (6 oz.) mascarpone or neufchâtel (light cream) cheese
1/2 C. yogurt cheese or sour cream
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh mint leaves
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. mixed berries such as marionberries, blueberries, raspberries, and boysenberries, rinsed and drained
1/4 C. seedless blackberry, huckleberry, or salal jam

In a bowl, mix 1 C. flour and the brown sugar. With a pastry blender or fingers, cut or rub in butter to make fine crumbs. Add 1 T. water and stir with a fork until evenly moistened. Gather dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board, roll dough into an 11-inch round. Ease dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable rim; if dough tears, overlap edges slightly and press to seal. Gently press dough against bottom and side of pan. Fold excess dough down and flush with pan rim; press against pan side. Bake crust in a 325° oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack. In a bowl with a mixer, beat mascarpone, yogurt cheese, lemon peel, mint, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread evenly in crust. Arrange berries in a single layer over filling. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan over medium heat, stir jam until melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle over berries. Remove pan rim and cut tart into wedges.

Lilac Scones with Rhubarb Curd

Lilac Scones with Rhubarb Curd

LILAC SCONES

3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling (or use turbinado, on top)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. salted butter, well chilled
1 cup full-fat buttermilk, well shaken
1 cup of lilac blossoms

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Over bowl, cut butter into small bits, dropping them into the flour mixture as you go. Work butter and flour together with fingers, until butter is about pea-sized at its largest. Add your lilac blossoms, removed from the stems (no green part). Give buttermilk a good shake, then pour into the flour-butter mixture, and fold together until you can pull the dough into a rough ball (mix as little as possible). Dust surface with clean flour and roll out to a half inch of thickness. Cut into triangles and place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with coarse sugar (turbinado is best) and a few more blossoms if you wish, and bake until golden at the edges, around 12-16 minutes. Eat when warm out of the oven.
RHUBARB CURD

3 cups chopped rhubarb
A handful of strawberries for colour and flavour (otherwise, the curd can be quite yellow from the yolks – I also used a few drops of beet juice to add rosiness)
Juice from one small lemon (around 2 tbsp)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

7 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
Pinch of sea salt

Put the rhubarb, juice of half a lemon, sugar and water in a small pot and simmer gently until rhubarb is soft. Blend into a smooth puree.

Whisk egg yolks, remaining sugar, and salt in a double boiler until warm. Gradually add the rhubarb puree, stirring vigorously between each addition. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the eggs will curdle (yuck! rhubarb omelette!)

Once the consistency is rich and thick, remove from heat and gradually add butter, stirring until melted. Cool the curd and bottle up in jars. Refrigerate.