Sunday, August 15, 2010

Good Company

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." Henry James

Sunday afternoon I was privileged to share high tea with a group of ladies as we said bon voyage to a friend as she goes off to London to attend a graduate program (here's where I sigh and say how proud we are of her!)  Tea is one of those very civilized traditions that I'm sorry we Americans never adopted.  A relaxing time to sip tea, eat scones lavished with lemon curd, clotted cream, and strawberry jam, indulge in lovely little sandwiches and of course fruit tarts and other desserts is not only delicious, it's a great way to slow down the day and to converse without the rush of a Starbucks or Peet's coffee Muzak soundtrack.  Finding a decent high tea is also an adventure; tread carefully here and get recommendations from your British friends--they know the best places.

If you are interested in making your own scones, this recipe is simple, and yields light as a feather scones that should be slathered with lemon curd and clotted cream. 

Heavenly Scones
Makes about 20
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 egg yolks beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking liner.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Gradually stir in the cream, a bit at at time, until the mixture begins to come together to form a ball. 
3. Turn the mixture out onto a floured board, and knead it about 6 times, until the dough forms a ball. 
4. Divide the dough in half, and flatten the balls into a disc about 3/4-inch thick and refrigerate for 1 hour. (at this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 2 months--defrost overnight in the refrigerator before baking)
5. On a lightly floured board, cut the dough into wedges, or cut the dough into 2-inch rounds, and transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the scones with the egg yolk mixture, and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake the scones for 17 to 20 minutes, until the scones are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately. 
Lemon Curd
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cups lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
In a 3-quart saucepan, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and lemon juice, and cook over medium high heat, until the curd is thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Taste the lemon curd adding additional lemon juice if necessary.  Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl, cool the lemon curd and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd, and refrigerate until ready to use.  Lemon curd can be frozen in airtight containers for up to 3 months, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.  Lemon curd is delicious as a filling for layer cakes, or trifle, or mixed with whipped cream as a topping for berries. 
Bon Voyage KJC, don't forget how much you are loved!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is just the best, I love it!!! Your photos are works of art - it makes me hungry all over again. The best part about marking these transitions is getting together with the people you love and sharing great talk and food! I don't cook much any more, but I'm going to try that scone recipe!