Tea Time Traditions
TTo make 10:
1 package of active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 tbs. lukewarm water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup milk
5 tbs. Butter cut into 1/2" bits
Note: To make traditional English crumpets you will need five or six 3" round open topped cookie cutters. Tuna cans that have the bottom and the top removed will do.
In a small, shallow bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the 2 tbs. of lukewarm water and let them stand for 2 or 3 minutes. Then stir them together to dissolve the yeast completely. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place, such as an unlighted oven, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles up and the mixture almost doubles in volume.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture and the milk, and drop in the egg. Beat vigorously with a large spoon, then add 1 tbs. Of the butter and beat until a smooth soft batter is formed. Drape a towel loosely over the bowl and set it aside in a warm place for about an hour, or until the batter has doubled in volume.
In a small pan, clarify the remaining 4 tbs. of butter by melting it slowly without letting it brown. Skim off the surface foam and spoon the clear butter into a bowl, discarding the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. With a pastry brush, coat the bottom of a heavy 10" to 12" skillet and the inside surface of the cookie cutters or tuna cans with about half the clarified butter.
Arrange the rings in the skillet and place the pan over moderate heat. For each crumpet, drop about 1 tbs. of batter into each ring. The batter will immediately spread out and fill the ring. When the crumpets begin to bubble and their bottoms turn a light brown remove the rings. Turn the crumpets over with a wide spatula and cook for another minute or so to brown them on the other side. Transfer the crumpets to a heated serving plate and cover with foil to keep them warm while you coat the skillet and rings with the rest of the clarified butter and cook the remaining batter.
Crumpets are traditionally served at breakfast and at afternoon tea. Accompany them with unsalted butter, syrup and your choice of jams, jellies or marmalades.
2-3 fresh lemons (enough juice to make 1/3
cup, and 1-2 teaspoons grated lemon peel)
Whisk together lemon juice, sugar and eggs in a medium size microwaveable bowl.
Microwave on 70 -80% power for 5 to 6 minutes, stopping microwave to whisk mixture every after about 2 minutes and then every minute thereafter, cooking until mixture is hot and bubbling.
Remove from microwave and whisk in lemon peel and butter.
For really smooth lemon curd, put in food processor while still hot and mix on high for about 30 seconds. (Be careful, sometimes the hot mixiture will try to escape the food processor and burn you!)
Store covered in refrigerator for up to a week, or seal in jars to store in refrigerator longer.
Rich Tea Scones
To make 12:
Preheat the oven to 400. Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with the softened butter and set aside.
In a large chilled mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, slat and lard. With your fingertips, rub the flour and fat together until they look like flakes of course meal. Beat the egg with a whisk or fork until it froths and set 1 tbs. of it aside in a small dish. Beat the milk into the remainder of the egg and pour over the flour mixture. With your hands or a large spoon toss together until the dough can be gathered into a compact ball. Dust lightly with flour and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a 1/2" thick circle. With a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut the dough into 2" rounds. Reroll and cut the scraps into similar rounds. Place the rounds about 1" apart on the baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with the reserved tbs. of beaten egg. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until light brown. Serve at once on a heated platter.