HOW TO HAVE A “TEA PARTY”

Part of the invitation and theme.

You can have a wonderful “High-Tea” at home with your favorite friends.  This group of friends are my Mah Jongg buddies.  It was my pleasure to have them over for a tea-party and an afternoon of playing Mah Jongg.  Here is my menu and recipes for a diverse array of favorites.  Some are homemade, some are semi-homemade and some are store bought.  All and all, a great combination.

Mah Jongg Friends enjoy the Tea Party

Part of the spread!

APPETIZERS:

  • Stuffed mini-peppers with goat cheese (see recipe on blog)
  • Goat Cheese & prosciutto tarts (see recipe on blog)
  • assorted cheese tray:  brie, manchego, gouda, or your favorites!

 COCKTAIL:

Start with a festive glass of Champagne, my favorite is:      Francois Montang   (Great price for a tasty bottle of Champagne)               Drop in a couple of fresh raspberries.   You can add orange juice if anyone wants a Mimosa.

TEAS:

Pull out your beautiful silver service and trays!  I serve three types in three different teapots.  Make sure you have honey, sugar, various sweeteners, and cream.

  • Passion fruit
  • Organic Chai
  • Earl Gray
  • Selection of tea bags from Tea Forte

SAVORY TREATS:

Side note:  This antique is a “Slice a Slice”.  You can only get it on Ebay, but it makes perfect thin slices!

CUCUMBER TEA SANDWICHES:

  • 1 very thin, fresh bread loaf (use “Very Thin” white sliced bread from Partridge Farms–14 slices)
  • 1 English or seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (can use low-fat)
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted soft butter
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh dill weed
Drain the cukes by laying them on a few layers of paper towels.  Sprinkle them with a few pinches of salt.  Let set about 30 minutes and pat the tops with another towel until dry. Take off as much salt as possible.
Meanwhile mix the cream cheese with the dill weed and add a slight bit of salt and pepper to tasted.  Spread one
side of each piece of bread with a thin layer of butter then with a layer of the cream cheese mixture (the butter will keep the bread from getting soggy.)  Top one of the slices with the cucumber slices, all slightly overlapping and top with the other piece of bread.  Cut the crusts off using a gentle sawing motion with a bread knife.  Cut in threes (oblong).  MAKES  21 sandwiches.

TURKEY, CRANBERRY AND WALNUT CREAM CHEESE TEA SANDWICHES

  • 16 slices, rye or pumpernickel bread
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced turkey (Boar’s Head)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 C walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 to 2 1/2 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter
Combine cream cheese, dried cranberries and walnuts in a bowl.  Take one piece of bread and spread 1/4 cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the bread.  Top the cream cheese with one slice of turkey.  Place a second piece of bread on top and lightly press.  Cut crusts off and then cut with cookie cutter to desired shape.

GOAT CHEESE AND WATERCRESS TEA SANDWICHES ON CINNAMON-RAISIN BREAD:

  • 2 -5 1/2 oz. logs soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), room temperature
  • 1/2 C chopped watercress leaves
  • 20 thin slices cinnamon-raisin sandwich bread (buy at bakery and have them slice it thin)
  • 5 T unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 3/4 C finely chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/3 C chopped raisins
  • Watercress sprigs (for garnish)
Mix cheese, pecans,  raisins, and chopped watercress in medium bowl.  Season with salt.  Lightly butter both sides of the bread with softened butter.  Spread mixture evenly over 10 bread slices.  Top with remaining 10 slices of bread.   Trim all bread crust.  Cut each into four pieces.  Cover and store according to directions in Cucumber Tea Sandwich.

Tuna & Capers Tea Sandwiches

  • 4 cans (5 oz. ea.) solid white tuna packed in water, drained well
  • 1/3 C mayonnaise, plus more for spreading
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red onion
  • 4 Teaspoons caper, rinsed and drained, chopped
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T Dijonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled between your fingers.
  • loaf of very thin rye or wheat bread
In a medium bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, dijonnaise, onion, capers, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano and stir until thoroughly combined.  Lay out 20 slices of bread,  lightly butter the bread.  Top with thin layer of tuna mixture.  Then butter the top slice of bread.  Top the sandwich and with a serrated knife, cut all the crusts off.  Then cut the sandwiches in desired shape.

CRAB PUFFS:

  • 1/4 C mustard
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 C jumbo lump crabmeat, chopped
  • 1 pkg. (9.5 ounces) Pepperidge Farm Mini Puff Pastry Shells (these are hard to find, you can also order these on-line from “The Vermont Country Store:  Pastry Shells set/3 pkgs. of 4 shells

In small bowl, combine mustard, mayo and Worcestershire sauce.  Add crabmeat and cheese and mix by had until well.

Remove “lid” from the mini puff pastries. Fill pastry shells with crab mixture and place lid on top.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 425 degrees on parchment-lined baking sheets for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

EGG SALAD TEA SANDWICH:

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1  tsp. tarragon vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 C fresh chives, thinly sliced
  • unsalted soften butter for spreading
  • 20 slices very this wheat bread (Pepperidge Farm’s Very Thin Wheat Bread)
In a large stainless steel pot, place eggs then cover with enough cold water to cover by 3 inches.  Bring water to a boil over high heat.  Cook 1 minute, and remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes.  Remove eggs from pan and since under cold water to stop cooking.  Peel eggs and finely chop.  Place in a large bowl.   Let cool completely.
Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper, and chives.  Stir well.  Adjust salt and pepper if needed.  Mix gently with the eggs.
Spread the inside of each slice of bread with softened butter, and then one slice with the egg mixture.  Top with the other slice of buttered bread and cut off crusts.  Cut in 3 long pieces.  Store in an air-tight container layered between damp paper towels and chill until ready to serves.

WALDORF SALAD:

  • 2-3 tart apples-peeled, cored and chopped, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 C seedless grapes, cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C Coolwhip
  • 3 T apple juice
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 4 T chopped walnuts  plus 2 T for garnish
  • 1 small green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C raisins (or golden raisins)

In medium bowl, combine apples and lemon juice, and then add the grapes, raisins, green onions and celery.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple juice, cool whip, walnuts,  and celery seeds.  Spoon over the apple mixture and gently toss together.  Place in serving bowl and sprinkle with 2 T walnuts.  (cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in frig until ready to serve).

SWEET TIDINGS:

Have jams and spreads on the side:  Cotted cream, Strawberry Preserves, Orange Marmalade, Guava Jam, Lemon Curd, Old Farmhouse Chutney

DRIED CRANBERRY, WALNUT AND LEMON SCONES:

  • 2 T plus 1 C sugar
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 C all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 C dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 C coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 C (or more) chilled half and half, divided

Position rack in top third of oven: preheat to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk 2 T sugar and 1 T lemon juice in bowl for glaze.   Whisk flour, baking powder, lemon peel, salt, and 1 C sugar in large bowl.  Add chilled butter; using fingertips, rub in until coarse meals forms.  Mix in cranberries and walnuts.  Add 1/2 C half and half and 1 T lemon juice.  Toss with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more half and half if dough is dry.  Gather dough into ball; divid in half.  Press out each half on floured surface to 6 inch diameter (1 inch-high) round.  Cut each round into 6 wedges.  Transfer to baking sheet; brush with glaze.  Bake scones until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

LUSH COCONUT, PINEAPPLE PUDDING CAKE

  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 C water
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) cream of coconut, divided (3/4 C used in cake batter)
  • 3 large eggs
Filling:
  • 1 box (3.4 oz.) vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 small can crush pineapple, drained
  • 1 C cream of coconut (remainder)
  • 1/2 C shredded coconut
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts
Frosting:
3 C confectioner’s sugar
1 C butter (2 sticks)  room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T whipping cream
Chocolate drizzle:
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 C heavy whipping cream
1 T butter
EXTRA:
2 boxes Royal Edinburgh or other brand shortbread fingers (cookies), mini-bouquet of roses for decoration
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, flour or spray Pam for baking or two 9 inch cake pans, set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, water, 3/4 C cream of coconut and 3 eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended, then beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Pour into baking pans.  Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.  Cakes are done with a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, remove from pans and allow to cool completely.
Filling:
Mix 1 package instant pudding in a bowl  with 1 C cream of coconut, use a whisk.  Add 1/2 C drained crushed pineapple, 1/2 C shredded coconut, and 1/2 C chopped walnuts, mix well.  Place in refrigerator to firm.
Vanilla Buttercream frosting:
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter.  Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.  Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
Drizzle:
Put chocolate chips in stainless steel small bowl.  Place heavy cream and butter in microwaveable bowl.  Put cream and butter in microwave for 2 or 3 minutes until almost boiling.     Add the very hot cream and butter mixture to the chocolate chips, wait a few seconds, then blend well with small whisk or spoon.  
Assembly:
When cakes are completely cooled, use a cake slicer (or large bread knife), to cut each cake in two.  Place bottom cake layer on serving plate:  place some of the icing in a plastic bag and make a small snip on one corner, pipe a ring of icing around the edges of the cake (this will keep the filling inside the cake).
spread with 1/3 of the filling  Repeat layers and process.  Top with remaining cake layer.
Frost top and sides of cake; drizzle around the top (close to end) some chocolate ganache, sprinkle top with remaining coconut.
Optional:  place shortbread cookies around the sides of the cake and top with mini-silk bouquet of roses or other flower.

VARIOUS Petit Fours:

Purchase these from the bakery at Publix, Wholefoods, or Fresh Market.  You can also find some in the freezer section.  I chose the following:  (Display on doilies and try to use some elevated and stacked serving pieces):

  • mini cream puffs
  • mini eclairs
  • chocolate cover strawberries
  • vanilla and chocolate cakes

EXTRA:  CAKE POPS

I bought a kit from Starbucks, everything was included.  Just follow directions!

I even provided lovely see-through boxes for guest to take home pastries and sandwiches that were left over!  You can order them on line at http://www.amazon.com.

Shortbread cookies and good cake slicer

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