Your tea has steeped and is poured. Now it’s time for the other part of Afternoon Tea, the food.
A three-tiered rack is the traditional presentation for Afternoon Tea. It looks elegant, takes up little space on the table, and can easily be prepared for one person or two. If you wish to serve your own Afternoon Tea at home or in your garden don’t think you must have a tiered rack or tiered cake plate. I have seen some beautiful and creative ways of presenting all of the traditional tea food on platters.
Start at the bottom. This tier holds dainty finger sandwiches. Quickly do the math and calculate how many per person. Even though most of us could probably make them a one-biter, try to eat it in two or three bites. Remember, this is a social event. It’s more about the company than the food.
On to the second tier, my favourite. Scones, jam, and clotted cream. Place one scone on your plate. Keeping it on the plate, slice it horizontally. Place a spoonful of jam on the side of your plate. Strawberry jam is traditional but any kind is fine. Next, place a spoonful of clotted cream on the side of your plate. Clotted cream is dense and rich. Yes, as expected, the fat content is about 55%, putting it in the treat category. Eat the scone as you would a bread roll. Break off a bite-sized piece, dab some jam with your knife and then clotted cream. Eat.
Even in England, the home of scones and clotted cream, there is controversy over which goes on first – the jam or the clotted cream. The latest poll I read (yes, there was a clotted cream poll) jam first, followed by clotted cream was slightly ahead. Either way, it tastes decadent.
If you’re still able to eat more, the third tier awaits with a variety of little sweets. Tarts, cakes, squares, or even cookies live here.
Afternoon Tea is a lovely way to socialize with friends. It can also easily be duplicated at home. Even the most unMartha-like can make finger sandwiches. Homemade scones are fabulous but can also be easily purchased. Jam is in most kitchens. Ah, the clotted cream. It is available in many grocery stores. Yes, it’s a little expensive. If the desire to try this strikes and your local store doesn’t’ stock clotted cream, you can make an imitation. Here’s a recipe for mock clotted cream.
Mock Clotted Cream
- 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt. Stir until well blended. Stir in whipping cream. With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in refrigerator.
Mascarpone cheese can be substituted for cream cheese.
Let’s have Afternoon Tea sometime. It’s a lovely alternate to “doing lunch”. Anna would approve.