Growing up with the tradition of having a teatime snack I thoroughly enjoyed this book tea & crumpets. I like the format, recipes and pictures in the book. There are recipes from Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, England, Ireland and Paris. The book has a travel guide to different tearooms in Europe and a table of equivalents
The author has put little introductions with interesting stories from history in each section before writing the recipe. The organized sections are as follow:
11 recipes in Sandwiches & Savouries section
15 recipes under Crumpets, scones & fruit breads
21 recipes under Teatime sweets
The French art of tea has 11 recipes such as madeleine, petit pains au chocolate, crème caramel.
Here are some interesting facts from the book about the origin of tea and teatime snacks.
Tea dates back to 3rd millennium BC in China. Tea came to England in the mid 17th century and was established in 1840.
One day when the 7th duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria got a little hungry late afternoon she asked her maid to bring tea with sandwiches. Usually lunch was eaten early and dinner was around 8 or 9 p.m. so people got a little hungry.
Anna Maria liked this tea and snack so much that she invited her friends. It eventually became a social event among upper class women. The ladies went to meet their friends around 4 and 5 o'clock in the evening to talk while nibbling snacks and drinking tea.
There are many stories like this throughout the book, which I enjoyed reading such as the legendary story of Shen Nung, about colonization and tea, different mountainous regions tea is planted and how it effects the grade and taste of tea, how the modern tea bags evolved etc.
The book is printed in quality paper that as a smooth luxurious feel. All the foodies interested in learning and making delicious teatime snacks will enjoy this book. I am looking forward to try many of the recipes in the book as my family and I enjoy having snacks with our tea.
Here is the recipe for chocolate scones from tea & crumpets
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted cold butter cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cup whipping cream or buttermilk
1 egg yolk
whole milk for brushing tops
clotted cream to serve optional
Whisk flour, cocoa and sugar. Mix the butter with the whisked ingredients using your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.
In another bowl whisk cream and egg yolk. Then stir it into the flour mixture.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and using floured hands knead gently to bring the dough together. Pat the dough into a 3/4" thick round. With a 2 1/2" cutter cut circles, reroll and cut more circles. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with milk and bake for 16 to 18 minutes until it is puffed and the edges are dry.
Remove form oven and cool for a few minutes before serving with clotted cream. I served without cream and it was delicious.
To make clotted cream
2 2/3 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Combine cream and butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. With a wooden spoon mix when it starts to simmer. Do not let it boil. Continue stirring and simmering for 20 to 25 minutes until the mixture is reduced in half and is thick. Remove form heat transfer to a dish and cool completely.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours until it is smooth and thick before serving. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.