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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tea for Ten

Cranberry-Orange Scones
My services were engaged this past weekend, to produce tea service for 10 on Sunday. While I did not make everything completely from scratch, there's a fair bit of this that I produced myself, and I thought I might as well document it here for your edification and information.

Scones - Plain and Orange-Cranberry, with Clotted Cream

Tea Sandwiches - Cucumber with Dill Cream Cheese; Prosciutto, Arugula and Boursin; Roasted Red Pepper, Portobello, and Chive Cream Cheese.

A Fruit Platter and A Cheese Platter

Chocolate Mousse and Palmiers

Proceed for pictures, recipes, and presentations.

Scones, Cran-Orange and Plain.
Scones are being made by a recipe handed to me by my good friend Miss Kagashi. She's asked that I not share the recipe, but I will reveal that I added about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of dried cranberries and the zest of 1 orange to the recipe for my cranberry-orange scones. (The recipe starts with 2 cups/551 ml of All-Purpose flour for proportion reference.)

Tea Sandwiches: I'm making 20 of each type, in a small size designed to be somewhat of an hors d'oeuvre type of item, rather than a larger size that's used more often. The crusts will be cut off, in all cases, as that's traditional.

1/4 cup (60 ml) Chives, chopped finely
12 oz (375 g) Cream Cheese
2 Roasted Portobello Mushroom Caps
2 Roasted Red Peppers

Soften the cream cheese by setting it out at room temperature for a time before use. Mix chives and cream cheese, either in a mixer or by hand. Store until assembly.

To roast the Portobello mushrooms, preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6. Oil your mushrooms and place them on a baking sheet, gill-side down. Roast for 20 minutes, making sure that they don't burn. They should be soft, but not mushy.

Once they're done, let them cool, slice them into strips, and store.

To roast the red peppers, simply place them over the flame of a gas burner. Periodically turn the peppers to expose all areas to the flame. Once the pepper is completely blackened all over, place it in a bowl or pan deep enough to hold it, and cover tightly with plastic wrap, or a lid.

When the pepper has cooled slightly, take a paper towel and wipe the charred skin off. Some would have you rinse the peppers, but that's just not necessary, and washes away some of the flavor.

Cut the peppers open and pull out the seeds, and store the flesh.

To assemble the sandwiches, apply your cream cheese spread on ten slices of bread (here, I'm using rye.) Lay slices of roasted red pepper and roasted portobello mushrooms on five of the slices, top with the other five, and cut into your preferred tea sandwich shape.

1/2 c (120 ml) Dill, chopped finely
12 oz (375 g) Cream Cheese
1 Hothouse Seedless Cucumber 

Try to arrange these nicer than I did.
Same as above, combine the softened cream cheese and dill, then store.

Slice the cucumber very thinly—you'll want about 2 mm or so—on a mandoline slicer if one's available.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the dill cream cheese on 10 slices of bread (herein using white bread,) lay the cucumbers slightly shingled on 5 slices of the bread, then top the sandwich with the other 5. Cut into preferred shapes.

10.4 oz (300 g) Boursin

Soften the boursin and mix gently to achieve a creamy consistency. You may wish to add a small amount (maybe 5 oz/150 g) of cream cheese to the boursin to help the consistency become more spreadable.

Spread the cheese on 10 slices of bread. Place a layer of arugula, then a layer of prosciutto, on 5 of the slices. Top with the other 5, and cut into preferred shapes.

Palmiers are a type of cookie made from puff pastry. They're very simple, and since you can almost always find frozen puff pastry these days, they require minimal effort to produce.

Puff Pastry

Mix sugar with a pinch of salt (say 1/8 tsp per 2 cups/less than 1 ml per 550 ml.) Pour some on a cutting board, and spread evenly. Lay out a sheet of puff pastry on the cutting board. Sprinkle the top of the pastry with the sugar mixture, to coat evenly.

Fold thusly: Two edges halfway to the center, then those folds to the center, then in half. Cut into 1/4-3/8" (approx 7-10 mm) wide slices, which will look like little Ws, and place those on a sheet pan with parchment or a silpat.

Bake at 450°F/230°C/Gas 8 for 4 minutes. Turn each palmier over, and cook a further 3 minutes. They should be golden brown, and caramelized around the edges.

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