Take the cake
PUBLISHED: 12:52 16 June 2015
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis whips up patisserie perfect for afternoon tea this summer
A friend of mine recently complained she was sick of afternoon tea – a year of 40th birthday parties for close girly pals having transported her across the length and breadth of Suffolk for cake and scones.
I can’t imagine tiring of the occasion myself. Diving into multiple tiers of cream, sponge and fancies, simultaneously whiling away a few hours with idle chat and a pot of steaming tea, is my idea of heaven.
Here are a few delicacies I’ve concocted for you to try at home. Why not rustle some of the recipes up for Wimbledon alongside a teapot of Pimms?
NOTE: I have based timings on my fan oven. If you don’t have a fan you may want to nudge the temperature up very slightly.
Cherry and coconut scones
Truly yummy scones that are a little bit different. Serve with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Don’t handle the mix too much or it will become too dense. Makes around 16 using a small fluted scone cutter.
225g self-raising flour
3tbsp caster sugar
10 cherries chopped (and a few extra for the tops, halved)
50g desiccated coconut
Icing sugar to dust
Pre heat the oven to 220C.
Place the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl and rub together with your fingers until the butter disappears. Add the cherries, coconut and milk and bring together but don’t knead too much. Flour a surface and roll the dough out until it’s almost as thick as the cutter you are using. Cut out the dough, turning the scones over as you put them on a baking tray (this helps them rise more).
Bake for 10 minutes and serve warm.
Strawberry and rosewater tartlets
Local strawberries should be in abundance soon. This is a lovely way to use them up. Buy ready made shortcrust pastry to save time, but the buttery, biscuit-like pate sablee is well worth making. Stick the radio on and enjoy the process.
Makes 20 mini tartlets.
170g plain flour
85g unsalted butter, cold and chopped in 1cm pieces
3 large egg yolks
85g caster sugar
75ml double cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
45g caster sugar
Fruits of Suffolk strawberry jam
For the pastry
Clear a surface. Pour the flour onto it and make a big well in the centre. Place the egg yolks, sugar and butter in the well. Keep the fingers of one hand together and pinch at the butter, pecking to bring it together with the sugar and egg. Do this until no lumps of butter remain. Use a palette knife to draw the flour in from the outside and chop it into the butter, then press the knife down on the mix to bring it all together. Roll into a ball, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 220C. Flour a surface and roll the pastry thinly. Line your chosen tart tins, cut greaseproof paper to line the inside and fill with ceramic baking beans. Chill for 15 minutes (this is an important step). Bake for five minutes. Turn the oven down to 160C and cook for a further five minutes. Cool. Remove the paper and baking beans.
For the pastry cream
Simmer the cream and milk. Beat the sugar, cornflour, egg yolks and whole egg together in a bowl until smooth. Whisk the hot milk mix into the egg mix, bit by bit, whisking to prevent lumps. Pour the whole thing back into a pan and heat gently, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Beat in the rosewater. Cool then fill the tart cases by three quarters.
Hull the strawberries, slice and place on top of the pastry cream (do this at the very last minute as strawberries weep lots of liquid). Warm a few tablespoons of jam and brush over the top.
Sticky ginger and Earl Grey teabread
I’ve grown to appreciate fruit cake as I’ve got older and this one’s a cracker. You really can taste the aromatic bergamot notes of the tea, which work brilliantly with exotic Chinese stem ginger.
For the loaf
2 Earl Grey teabags
150g light brown sugar
110g unsalted butter
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
175g plain flour
2 medium eggs
1tsp ground ginger
3 pieces Opie’s stem ginger in syrup, chopped
For the syrup
6tbsps caster sugar
2tbsps ginger syrup from the jar
Juice of half a lemon
1 Earl Grey teabag
Slices of stem ginger to decorate
Start the day before. Simmer the butter, sugar, water, sultanas and teabags together for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and steep for two hours. Remove the teabags and leave overnight.
The next day beat in the eggs and the rest of the cake ingredients. Heat the oven to 160C, line a 1lb loaf tin, pour in the mix and bake for 50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool in the tin then slice and cut each slice in half. Place these on greaseproof paper.
For the syrup simmer the lemon juice, sugar, water and teabag together until the sugar is melted and the texture of Vaseline (take a bit out on a spoon, let it cool a little and rub it between your fingers).
Pour the syrup over the cake slices and top with pieces of stem ginger.
Milk chocolate & Broadside puffs
Beer and chocolate go hand-in-hand. The beer’s malty aromas and bitter notes cut through the sweetness of cocoa, creating a really interesting flavour. Here the two ingredients are combined to make a unique ganache that omits the need for cream. It goes against everything you know about chocolate – which usually hates liquid – and is perfect for people with a dairy intolerance. The result is fluffy and creamy. I used Hadleigh Maid chocolate.
Makes around 10 with left over ganache and beer for the cook.
For the choux pastry
85g unsalted butter
220ml cold water
105g plain flour
3 large eggs, beaten
For the ganache
200g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
150ml Adnams Broadside
For the topping
100g dark chocolate
50ml Adnams Broadside
Heat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray.
Make the pastry. Melt the butter in a pan with the water. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and beat in the flour until it comes away from the sides in a ball. Cool a little then beat in the eggs bit by bit until you have a dropping consistency.
Pipe or spoon in 1.5ins circles onto your tray, leaving a few centimetres between each.
Bake for 12 minutes, pierce a hole in the bottom of each one, turn the oven to 170C and cook for a further five minutes. Cool.
Make the ganache. Melt the dark and milk chocolate together and place in a bowl. Simmer the Broadside. Add the beer a few tablespoons at a time to the chocolate, beating with a fork. It will go stiff and grainy to begin with then will relax into a soft ganache. Whip with an electric whisk until lighter and moussy.
Make a hole in the bottom of your pastry and pipe or spoon in the ganache mousse.
For the topping follow the same process. Melt the dark chocolate, boil the beer and add it bit by bit until smooth and thick but do not whisk. Spoon over the pastries and sprinkle the honeycomb on top.
White Chocolate Passion Cakes
Beneath the fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream is a beautifully soft sponge, studded with zingy Scarlett and Mustard’s Passionfruit and Lemon Curd (you must try this, it’s delicious).
I used mini silicone loaf moulds from Lakeland Limited, but you could bake these in a muffin tray.
For the decoration everything you need can be found at Carousel in Ipswich.
Makes 10 mini loaves or 12 muffins.
185g softened unsalted butter
240g golden caster sugar
150g white chocolate
280g plain flour
1.5tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
To fill and ice
Scarlett and Mustard’s Passionfruit and Lemon Curd
3 large egg whites (save the yolks for the tartlets recipe)
200g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter chopped roughly
150g white chocolate, melted
To decorate (optional)
Sugarcraft flower paste
Gel food colouring in Lavender
Small daisy flower cutter
Edible gold glitter
Make the flowers in advance. Colour about half the florist paste to the shade you like. It dries quickly so work with a bit at a time and wrap the rest in clingfilm. Dust a surface, roll a piece of coloured paste thinly and cut out flower shapes. Push the petals inwards a little to get a cup shape and leave to dry. Once dry dip a skewer in the colour gel and colour the centre of the flower. Sprinkle with gold dust and keep until needed in an airtight box.
For the cake preheat the oven to 160C. Place the moulds on a flat baking tray.
Melt the sugar, butter, white chocolate, vanilla and milk together. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Whisk.
Pour into the cases equally and bake for 25 minutes until risen – a skewer inserted will come away clean. Allow to cool.
For the icing. Simmer a saucepan of water. Place the egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl over the water and beat with an electric whisk until very firm and marshmallowy. Remove from the heat and beat in melted white chocolate.
Cool, then whisk in the butter, piece by piece until the icing is firm and moussy. Pipe onto the cooled cakes and top with your flowers.
Three spots for afternoon tea
Angel Delights, Hadleigh
The setting for this month’s shoot. This is a quaint little tearoom on Hadleigh’s high street where an array of mouthwatering cakes, cookies and slices line the sideboard. Afternoon tea is £12.95 per person including a pot of tea or coffee, scone, local jam and cream, a slice of cake, fresh cream meringue and sandwiches. Helen’s dad makes all the cake stands and they’re available to buy when you visit.
The Swan, Lavenham:
For many, afternoon tea instantly conjures up images of this hotel, which is renowned for them. A Traditional Swan Tea is £16.95 per person and includes finger sandwiches, a selection of cakes and scones and your choice of tea.
The Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich:
Served on a brightly coloured Perspex stand, the afternoon tea here really showcases the hotel’s pastry section. As well as sandwiches there are sausage rolls and cheese scones, a sweet scone, preserves and a number of dainty cakes and pastries – from cupcakes to macarons. The price of £16 per person includes unlimited tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
My favourite sandwich
Chris McQuitty, head chef, The Salthouse Harbour Hotel: Treacle cured bacon, heirloom tomato, iceberg lettuce and wild garlic aioli on tiger bread!
Chris Lee, head chef, The Packhorse Inn, Moulton: It’s got to be the Scooby Snack – a white bloomer triple decker. Mayo on all layers, crisp lettuce on the bottom, cucumber, slices of cheddar, bread, slices of Italian plum tomatoes, cracked black pepper, Suffolk chicken breast pulled into chunks and more bread. Served with pickled onion Monster Munch.
Jo Brennan, owner, Pump Street Bakery: Mine would be a twist on a couple of classics. Smoked salmon, but as an open sandwich on 100% rye with some curd cheese, lightly pickled cucumber and dill.
Scott Taylor, head chef, Elveden café/restaurant: Toasted ciabatta, Binham Blue cheese, chicken, crispy Guinness bacon and crisp gem lettuce.
Alan Paton, head chef, Stoke By Nayland Hotel: Blue cheese and white chocolate bread, blackened sirloin and maple cured bacon.
Ingredients used in this feature were supplied by the East of England Co-op where you’ll find everything you need to bake a whole range of treats. The Sourced Locally selection includes local eggs, milk, cream, beer, Hadleigh Maid chocolate, Scarlett and Mustard, Stokes, Fruits of Suffolk, Tiptree and Thursday Cottage preserves and local strawberries shortly too.
The feature was shot at Angel Delights Tearoom, Hadleigh High Street.