When I was a child, I owned a Blue Willow pattern child-sized tea set, complete with tea cups and saucers, tea pot, creamer and sugar bowl, small plates and a larger plate that the tea service sat on. I spent many hours serving "tea" to my dolls and stuffed animals. Back then, I never dreamed I would go to a real tea party many decades later.
My longtime friend (we first met in first grade), Janice, decided a few months ago to have a formal garden tea party. She invited many of our longtime friends, some who traveled long distances to attend, and requested we wear fancy hats. It was a childhood dream come true!
I shopped for a sundress — I think the last dress I wore was my wedding gown! — and delighted in ordering a fascinator and lace gloves from Amazon. Ordering the fascinator was almost as exciting as going to a tea party. I have been to several British royal weddings (OK, along with millions of others, watching on TV), and always wanted one of the jaunty little hats the royals wore.
Janice and her husband, Hal, knocked the tea party out of the park, er garden. The dining room in their lovely home featured a chandelier with a teapot in the center and china tea cups hanging down like chandeliers. The beautifully laid-out table held an array of finger foods any royal would have been more than pleased with — tiny cucumber sandwiches, curried chicken salad sandwiches, caprese sandwiches, small dessert cups with a strawberry-rhubarb/balsamic vinegar cold soup, mini pastries and mini fruit parfaits.
Janice started the party off by serving tea, allowing each guest to choose a china cup and saucer from her collection. To go with the tea, she had made ginger scones that she served with jams, lemon curd or clotted cream — which she also had made! The scones and the clotted cream were to die for!
(Recipe courtesy Janice Diggens-Clark)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped into very small pieces
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ginger extract
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl or food processor, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and powdered ginger. Add ginger pieces and pulse or stir together.
Add butter and pulse (or cut in with pastry cutter) until mixture is crumbly.
Add ginger extract to heavy cream then add cream to dry ingredients.
Use a spatula to just combine ingredients and scrape the sides of bowl. Pulse or stir just enough until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Don’t overwork dough. Shape dough into a ball. On lightly floured surface, knead dough lightly 3 to 4 times then flatten or roll dough into one inch thickness.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut dough into 8 wedges or use 2 1/2 inch round cutter for 12 scones. Place on pan and lightly brush with heavy cream.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on wire rack, serve warm.