Spring tart wih peas

 

Well, that’s pretty! huh?

I recently had the privilege of being part of a fund-raiser Tea. When I say “being part of” I mean “making the food for” the Tea. It was loads of fun! This was the second year for Top of the Rock to host a Spring Tea. You can read about last year’s tea here, here, here, here, here, and here. Last year was fabulous! However, I didn’t want to have exactly the same food this year.

It was so much fun to plan for the Tea. I have a Pinterest Tea Party board where I gather ideas. After planning for the first Tea, I was hooked on finding fun Tea Party ideas. My board has quite a bit on it. That really made it kind of difficult to figure out what we should have this year. There were too many choices!

I knew we would have three courses–savory, scone and sweet. The scones were so yummy last time. I decided not to reinvent the wheel on that course.

We used 6 1/2″ clear plastic plates over the fancy china. That made for easier clean up and service. The size of the plates helped determine what would go on them. It had to all fit!

savory tea food

At last year’s event, we had a couple of people on gluten-free diets. Gluten intolerance seems to be an issue for lots of people these days. With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to have a few gluten-free selections at the Tea.

My friend, Susi, made her fabulous chicken salad. Instead of serving it in a puff pastry like before, the chicken salad was scooped onto a sliced apple and topped with a pecan half. It was different and GF! And it looked good, too.

tea sandwiches

Last year someone mentioned that they would have liked more savory than sweet at the Tea.

Well, to me, the dessert plate is THE BEST!

In the interest of being different, we had a little roast beef canapé. It was e-a-s-y to make. I bought loaves of French bread at the grocery. They sliced it for me at no extra charge. That was a great time-saver. Remember that for when you are fixing snacks for 100! Since my budget was slim, I bought prepared horseradish spread, store brand. I spread just a tiny amount on the toasted bread slices. I topped that with deli roast beef and a small piece of provolone cheese-then into the oven to melt the cheese. YUM! The little roast beef sandwiches were not GF, but folks sure raved about them.

tea party food

 

The Pea Tart was a bit of a risk. I found the recipe on Pinterest one day. The link led me to a beautiful website, Gourmande in the Kitchen. I was totally intrigued! Sylvie’s photography is just stunning. She has so many amazing sounding recipes.

I was unsure how I would like the beautiful recipe. Goat cheese was a bit of a stretch for me. I had to do a test run. (You may have noticed that the first picture on this post did not have a clear plastic plate. I’m glad I took pictures while I was testing. Making 100 tarts shells got a little intense. I didn’t take any pictures.)

individual pie pans from canning lids

Since I was making individual tarts, I needed tart pans. In lieu of spending lots of money on tart pans, I used canning lids and rings. The picture above, from my testing, shows two different sizes. I ended up using the smaller lids and rings. I did use a bit of parchment paper in the bottom. I  didn’t want the rubbery part of the ring to be an issue.

In my trial run, I discovered that the almond flour crust was very fragile. This had me terrified to try to make them for people. I determined that I probably made the test batch a little too thin. So, when I made the “for real” tarts, I actually did math! Sylvie’s tart serves about 8. I figured I could get 13-15 tarts out of one batch of dough. I filled a canning lid with a little more dough than I used for my test. Then, I weighed the dough. I weighed out 100 little dough balls and stuck them in the fridge until the next day. After a good night’s sleep, I was ready to look at the dough again. I spent that day pressing the dough balls into the canning lids. They baked up nicely. I only broke a couple of them.

Herbed Goat cheese spread

I waited as late as I could on the tea party day to spread the filling into the shells. Doesn’t that look fresh and inviting?! The combination of herbs and creamy stuff was delicious!

spring peas

 

The Pea Tarts looked pretty with just peas. Sylvie used micro greens to top off hers. My grocery only had spring greens, no micros. The lacy micro greens looked prettier. Nobody at the Tea saw the micro greens though. (Well, they might now.) Anyway, I used the spring greens and was pleased with the outcome.

Spring tart with herbed goat cheese

Compare this picture to the one above it. You will see a difference in the thickness of the crust.

Sylvie was sweet enough to let me share her recipe here. Be sure to go visit her beautiful blog. Thank you, Sylvie!

Pea and Herbed Goat Cheese Tart Recipe (Gluten Free and Grain Free)

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

The tart features a creamy filling laced with fresh herbs, balanced with a layer of blanched peas and a handful of colorful micro greens.

Ingredients

For the Tart dough:
    • 2 cups (224g) almond flour
    • 3 Tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Tart filling:
  • 6 ounces (168g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56g) Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) frozen or shelled English peas
  • 1 cup of micro greens (for garnish)

Instructions

Make the Tart Shell:
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, butter, egg white, and salt and pulse until the mixtures starts to come together.
    2. Place dough in a well greased tart mold, pressing down firmly with your fingers up and around the edges to create an even layer. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Put the tart shell in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 350 degrees.
    3. Place the frozen tart shell in the oven and bake until golden, about 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
    4. Allow to cool completely before unmolding and filling. (Placing the tart shell in the fridge will speed cooling and make unmolding easier)
For the Tart Filling and Assembly:
  1. In a food processor, blend together the goat cheese, Greek yogurt, fresh herbs, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse briefly to combine.
  2. Bring water to a boil. Blanch the peas for about 2 minutes, then shock them in a bowl of ice water and drain.
  3. When the tart shell has cooled, spread the herbed goat cheese filling evenly over the surface with an offset spatula, then cover the entire surface with a layer of peas. Top with the micro greens, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cut the tart into slices and serve.

 

Well, I’ve finally made it to telling you about the fabulous dessert plate we had at our tea. I know that is really the part you wanted to know about, right?! We were all on a total sugar high the rest of the day.

dessert plate 2

Let me give you a little tour of the plate.

labeled dessert plate

A. Lemon Bars

B. Sugar Cookie Fruit Cups

C. Cream Cheese Melt Away Mints

D. Fudge Bites

E. Chocolate Covered Tea Bag Cookies

F. Petit Fours with Cream Cheese Filling

Some of the work did get farmed out to a couple of other ladies. My sweet friend, Kathy, pictured here with her fiancée, made the Lemon Bars. She slaved all night to get them just right. I must say, I’m a sucker for any lemony dessert. Kathy’s were fabulous! We cut them into little fingers to add variety to the plate.

Kathy and Randy

Kaye made the Melt Away Mints. I could eat my weight in those things! Here is Kaye, dutifully getting instructions on how to serve tea. She’s the one in the middle. Thank you, both!

Getting instructions

Today I’m going to share with you the Petit Fours. I didn’t get too many “in progress” pictures of the other items. I’ll share them, none the less, in following posts.

petit fours with violets

I was really pleased with the way the Petit Fours turned out. I had been really nervous about making them. They weren’t hard, but they were time-consuming. Knowing that, I made the cake in advance and froze it.

I made just a basic pound cake. You could even use store-bought if you wanted. I made mine in a 10 x 15 bar pan lined with parchment paper. I split the cake and spread strawberry ice cream topping on each half.

The filling was the same  yummy, lemony, cream cheese filling I use on my Luscious Lemon Angel Roll. When I put the layers together, I used a baking rack to help with the transfer. It was tricky, and I did have a little breakage. (The Critics got to do some sampling for me !) Then I wrapped it all, whole, in plastic wrap and said a prayer as it went to the freezer.

When I was ready to fix them up for the tea, I defrosted the cake a bit, then cut it into 1 1/2 inch pieces, roughly. Being partially frozen made the cake a little easier to cut.

I only cut what I could handle frosting. I didn’t want the cake to dry out too much. I even kept the large piece covered with a damp paper towel while it waited to be cut.

I was not nervous about how the cake would taste. I knew that part was okay. It was the frosting and decorating I was worried about. I had made petit fours exactly ONCE before in my life. I used a powdered sugar glaze that time. I was disappointed that they didn’t look like the ones I had seen in the magazine. It was for a friend’s baby shower. There were only a few people there. I guess it was okay that they weren’t perfect. These, however, I felt had to be more on the mark. People were paying to eat them, after all!

I know you are wondering what I used on as the frosting.

stir the frosting

Yep! Store-bought vanilla frosting!

Just heat and stir!

fill squeeze bottle

Okay, I poured it in a squeeze bottle to make things easier.

icing petit fours 4

I squirted,

icing petit fours 2

and squirted,

icing petit fours 3

and squirted,

icing petit fours 4

and squirted some more!

When the frosting started to cool off, I just reheated it in the microwave.

While the frosting was still wet, I gently placed a little purple violet on top.

use tweezers to place the flowers

Tweezers made this a little easier.

violets on petit fours

I went ahead and tapped the flower into the frosting. Since I didn’t make sugared violets, I was afraid they might wilt.

tea cakes

I had made plans to use cupcake papers on the cakes. I’m glad I did. The sides of the cake just didn’t look as covered as I wanted them to look. I guess you have to use fondant for that look. No thanks!

These were just regular, cheap-o, generic cupcake papers. They were just a little too tall So, I recruited my daughter trim them down for me a little while I worked in the kitchen. I just kinda mushed the papers into the frosting. The papers covered my non-covered sides and they looked pretty that way.

Violet petit fours

Well, my Petit Fours still didn’t look like the ones you see in the glossy magazines, but they looked better than my first attempt, that’s for sure. Everyone seemed to love them!

The second course at our lovely tea party was scones. If you follow this blog regularly, you might remember me testing out the scones recipe. (click here)

They turned out great!

scones with clotted cream and jam

scones plate 1

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones. I just left out the blueberries. This was the only recipe I tested. It was so yummy, I figured, why bother with another one? It was simple enough, too.

First, mix all your dry ingredients together.

Then you are going to cut in your butter. (Cold ingredients will be best.) The butter needs to be cut into small pieces. That is how you get even distribution of butter.

butter, small pieces

cutting butter

I have read that if you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use two knives to cut in the butter. Personally, I have never liked that method. You can pick up a cutter fairly inexpensively.

Next, whisk together your wet ingredients and drizzle over the dry-stirring as you go.

add wet ingredients

After you dough comes together, turn it out on a floured surface. Gently knead a couple of times to incorporate all the flour. Pat it into a 1 inch disk.

pastry disk

Cut into 8-12 wedges, depending on the size you would like. I went with 12 on my trial run. After tasting how yummy they were I decided to make them a little larger for the tea party.

cut in eighths

Transfer the wedges to your parchment-lined baking sheet. (The batch pictured was waiting its turn on the pan.That’s why it is on a cutting board.)

bake on parchment paper

Here you will brush each scone with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

brush with egg wash

sprinkle with sugarI can’t believe I was able to sprinkle sugar while I took the picture!

spilled sugarOkay, maybe not!

Bake ’em up at 375˚ for about 22 minutes. My parchment paper looks kinda nasty because I reused it. I was making 13 batches of scones! Parchment paper costs money! I used each piece two or three times. I scraped the crusty parts off before reusing it each time. Cool the scones on wire racks.

on parchment paper

scones cooling on wire rack

When they are completely cool, you can freeze them. Of course they are best straight from the oven!

I made lots of scones!

lots of scones

pile of scones

scones pile

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture has the texture of coarse meal. Stir in blueberries.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg, and the vanilla. Drizzle over flour mixture, and stir lightly with a fork until dough comes together but a small amount of flour remains in bowl.
  4. Turn out dough onto a work surface, and gently knead dough once or twice just to incorporate flour. Pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 12 wedges. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Cook’s Note

Scones are best served immediately but can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw, and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

The scones were served with “Mock Clotted Cream”. I found the recipe here.

Mock Clotted Cream Recipe


Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted


Preparation:

Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the sour cream and powdered sugar just until combined.

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make approximately 2 cups or enough to serve 6 to 8.

Don’t know about clotted cream? What’s Cooking America also had this little tidbit of information:

Question:

Could you tell me what the difference is between clotted cream and creme fraiche?  It doesn’t sound like there is much difference, other than country of origin. Thanks – Jim Buffy (12/29/03)

Answers:

clotted cream – Traditionally served with tea and scones in England; it is a 55% minimum milk fat product made by heating unpasteurized milk to about 82 degrees C., holding them at this temperature for about an hour and then skimming off the yellow wrinkled cream crust that forms (until the cream separates and floats to the surface). It is also known as Devonshire cream. It will last up to four days if refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Devonshire cream (DEHV-uhn-sheer) – Originally from Devonshire County, England, it is a thick, buttery cream often used as a topping for desserts. It is still a specialty of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset, as this is where the right breed of cattle is raised with a high enough cream content to produce clotted cream. It is also known as Devon cream and clotted cream. Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter. Before the days of pasteurization, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top. Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans. The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding. The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust, which is similar to butter. Today however, the cream is extracted by a separator, which extracts the cream as it is pumped from the dairy to the holding tank. The separator is a type of centrifuge, which extracts the surplus cream at the correct quantity so that the milk will still have enough cream to be classified as milk.

creme fraiche (krem FRESH) – It is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. To make creme fraiche, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. It is an ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It is also delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.

Now you see why I went with the Mock Clotted Cream! It is not real sweet, so it is perfect with a dollop of jam!

Since I had made the scones in advance and stuck them in the freezer, they needed to be warmed a little before serving. (After thawing, of course.) I was a little nervous about how they would turn out reheated.

Scones

Not a problem! They were excellent! You do, however, lose some of the texture of the sugar sprinkled on top. I think I’m the only one who knew the difference. Well, NOW they know.

scones plate 2

We had strawberry jam with our scones. Mmmmmm!

When the Tea Party was over, we had some of the clotted cream left. My family enjoyed it with French Toast and fresh strawberries.

French toast with strawberries and cream

French Toast with strawberries and cream 1

The scones were easy and tasty. There are so many flavors out there to try–Orange Cranberry, Nutella, Pumpkin, Maple. Oh, yeah! I’ll be trying some of those!

Have you made scones? Do you buy scones? Do you have a favorite flavor?

Is all of this new to you? Are you going to give it a try?

After the chorus sang for our guests at the Tea, we served a plate of savories.

Savory Tea Plate 3

Before I tell you about the food, I want to give a special shout out to my gal-pal Susi!

Chef and sous chef

If I was the “chef”, Susi was my “sous chef”. I think she can pull that off really well if we call her a Suz-chef! Get it? She how I made a little funny with her name?

We also had some fabulous servers. Here are a few of them getting instructions on how to serve tea from D’arylan Ball, the caretaker of the home.

Getting instructions

Susi and I were the ones in charge of the kitchen. The two of us did all the plating of the food. Susi also made the fabulous Cranberry Chicken Salad Puffs.

Chicken Salad Puff

She made the puff pastries from her family’s never-fail recipe. The chicken salad was wonderful! One of her secrets was to use rotisserie chicken!

Susi, leave us a comment on how you made your chicken salad.

Savory Tea Plate 2

Don’t you just love the internet? When we started planning for this event, Mom and I started searching for recipes, crafts, and anything inspiring. The two of us started a Pinterest board to save our ideas as well as share them with one another. This was a very helpful tool. You can see our board here. We are still adding to it. You never know when you might need tea party recipes again!

The tomato sandwich and cucumber round both were found during our search.

The cucumber rounds were really easy. Before slicing the cucumbers, I scored them with my zester/scorer from Pampered Chef. I used the end with the small holes. Of course, if you don’t have one of these, you could just peel part of the cucumber off with a regular old peeler. We had to go fancy though!

zester:scorer

After slicing the cucumber into approximately 1/2 inch slices, I used a tool similar to this…

corerMine, however, is just a regular old strawberry huller. I scooped almost all of the seeds out of each cucumber slice, leaving a little base for the cheese.

As you may or may not know, cucumbers are FULL of water! I placed my slices, hollowed-out side down, on some paper towels in a container in the fridge overnight. I sure didn’t want cucumber juice all over the serving plate!

Oh, by the way, the idea for the cucumber slices came from Annie’s Eats. I love her blog.

Annie made her Cucumber Bites with Boursin Cheese in the middle. Well, Boursin Cheese can be a little pricy at the store.

I was overjoyed to find a recipe for homemade Boursin Cheese here.

HOMEMADE BOURSIN CHEESE SPREAD
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon dill
2 teaspoons chives
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

In a mini food processor, process the cream cheese, butter and garlic until blended. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Put in an airtight container and chill a couple of hours to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables.

Makes about 3/4 cup
Can be frozen

For some reason, I couldn’t get my fancy decorating tip to work right–an operator problem, no doubt. I had made the spread the night before and stored it in a resealable bag. I added a little whipping cream to the mix then I just snipped off the tip. I was able to squirt the spread into the cucumber cups with ease.

They weren’t quite as fancy as I wanted, but they were very tasty!

Savory Tea Plate 1

The Tomato Sandwiches were a HUGE hit! I was surprised because they were so easy!

The inspiration for the Tomato Sandwiches came from Paula Deen! I did do a little tweaking of my own on this one.

The bread I used was the cheapest plain ol’ sandwich bread they had at Walmart. I used brown and white, like Paula. Using a small biscuit cutter, I was able to get two cuts from each piece of bread. I made bread crumbs with the leftovers.

Cutting out the little rounds went really fast. I put them in Ziploc baggies in the freezer until the night before the party. I had LOTS of things in my freezer until the night before the party! Being able to do a lot ahead of time was essential!

Tomatoes are like cucumbers in that they are packed with water!

I did the whole slice and drain thing with the tomatoes like I did the cucumbers. DO NOT skip this step. If you do, you will have a soggy sandwich! Yuck!

Here is the spread that I put on the sandwiches…

SAVORY PARTY SPREAD

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 package (0.7 ounce) dry Italian salad dressing mix

I just spread it on each piece of bread and put a tomato in the middle. A little piece of parsley spruced up the top a bit.

Savory Tea Plate 3

Three little bite-sized treats was perfect for our first course.

Two more courses to come~stay tuned!