The last quarter of the year is always hectic and 2012 is no exception I fear! I was worried that I’d have to miss another Sweet Adventures Blog Hop but when I saw that the theme was High Tea, I simply had to make some time and when better than the kids’ first day back at school?
It’s no secret that I love High Tea. There’s something immensely satisfying about taking time out specifically to enjoy a well brewed tea and bite-sized portions of food over leisurely conversation. I’m not sure about other people but while I can easily have lunch or dinner with virtual strangers, I prefer to have High Tea with close friends. I guess to me it’s more than just an excuse to stuff one’s face with pastries!
One High Tea in Perth that I can’t recommend more highly is Rochelle Adonis‘. What I loved about her High Tea was the absence of scones. Don’t get me wrong, I love scones but they usually fall by the wayside in favour of all the other tempting treats you’re served during a typical High Tea. By the time you get around to the top tier, you just don’t have much room to enjoy them.
For this Blog Hop, I decided to think a little left-of-centre like Rochelle and redefine scones for my perfect High Tea experience. Another thing I very much enjoy seeing in modern High Teas are verrines, where ingredients are layered in a small glass. This style of eating makes for a welcome diversion in High Tea which more often than not involves a lot of chomping through cakes and sandwiches.
My verrine is as follows:
Chopped, fresh strawberries dressed in a strawberry, aged balsamic and vanilla ‘jam’
Double cream mixed with a touch of greek yoghurt
Torn up scone, and
Extra chopped strawberries, cream, jam and pinenut praline
The result was very much like having regular scones, jam and cream but boy did it go down a lot easier! I look forward to trying this with some friends for High Tea at home.
Scones, Jam & Cream Verrine
1 scone per person (please refer to the CWA scone recipe)
Jam: 1 tbsp balsamic (older the better!), 1 tbsp sugar, 6 medium strawberries, 1/2 vanilla pod – puree the strawberries and pour into small saucepan with other ingredients. Place saucepan on medium heat until mixture bubbles. Place on high simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer to small container and allow to cool.
Pinenut Praline: Lay toasted pinenuts out evenly on a lined baking tray or heatproof plate. In a small saucepan, place 1/2 cup of white sugar (I mixed in a little brown sugar), 1/4 cup of cream and 1 heaped tsp of butter. Place saucepan over medium/high heat and allow to melt and bubble up. I recommend leaving things alone, only shaking the saucepan a little to make sure sugar is dissolving. Cover with lid whenever crystals form. When mixture reaches hard candy stage (235 – 240F), remove from heat and pour mixture over the pinenuts, covering evenly. Allow to cool.
In small glasses, carefully spoon in some chopped strawberries and dress with a teaspoon of jam. Layer some cream on top carefully so as to not disturb the bottom layer. Tear up the scone and place carefully on top of cream layer. Add some more fresh strawberries then a dollop of extra cream. Place a small amount of jam on top and sprinkle with crushed pinenut praline. Serve :)