Sunday, March 4, 2012

Afternoon Tea

Little Miss and I are greatly enjoying our tea times. typically, we
will have tea in the afternoon while Little Man in resting or taking his
nap. This has led us to talking about the tradition of having tea in
England. I have tried looking up information about it in library books,
but have been disappointed to find that the interpretations of
"Afternoon Tea & High Tea" in America differ from one author to
another. Unfortunately, many of these same authors say that they
learned about the English tea customs when living in England.

This has led me to questions about the custom of the more British style
of tea. What is the true difference between the afternoon tea and high
tea? One resource said that scones, light tea sandwiches, and pastries
are served at a High Tea, while another said that these were served at
an Afternoon Tea. I am sure that to some, it may not matter. I am
wanting to teach my daughter the custom however. In her Keepers at Home
program there is an optional award for hosting a tea party. Since we
are not doing the Keepers program as a group, but as a family, I am
wanting to alter the suggested activities a bit. I want to teach my
daughter the difference between an Afternoon Tea and a High Tea. With
the amount of enjoyment that she gets from our tea times, I know that
she would enjoy helping put together both types of tea for our family.
Who knows? We may even begin adopting the custom in our own family.

I would love to hear about the Afternoon and High tea from anyone who
has a knowledge of them. Maybe even share a recipe? Here is a recipe
that we use for scones. We love them and the recipe is easy enough that
Little Miss is able to do much of the putting it together.

Banana-Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

2.5 cups of all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 cup chopped bananas
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking
soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until
mixture is very crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk
and egg. Pour into flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture
is completely moistened and you have a soft slightly lumpy dough.
Gently fold in the chopped banana and chocolate.

Lightly flour your hands and press dough into a ball. On a floured
surface gently knead the dough about 10 times. Do not be tempted to
knead more than this. If you overly knead the dough and the bits of
butter melt, the scones will not be light and flaky.

Pat the dough into a circle about 8 inches diameter. Using a sharp
knife, cut the circle into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the
parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

*** I have made these without the bananas and chocolate. You can make
them plain or substitute your own favorite fruits and nuts. Just keep
the ratio to about the same as those given. Dried apple pieces with a
bit of cinnamon is good. You can take the dried apple pieces and toss
them in a little bowl of cinnamon - brown sugar before stirring them
into the dough.

This recipe doesn't make a lot of scones, but that is what we like.
Scones always taste best to us if they are fresh from the oven.

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