Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to Sugar Pansies

Garnish is Queen! It adds beauty, color, appeal and interest to your tea tray. Edible pansies are a beautiful and colorful edible garnish.

At this time of the season when pansies are beginning to fade, you can preserve them by crystallizing them with thinned egg whites and super fine sugar.

You will need tweezers, a metal tea infuser with handles or a small sieve, a small paint brush designated for food use, and parchment paper. You will also need powdered egg whites; these are pasteurized and safe to eat, and super fine sugar.

Use only pesticide free pansies with stems removed. Gently paint both sides of pansy petals with thinned egg whites made to package directions. Add a little water to thin them. While holding pansy with tweezers over a small bowl, sprinkle both sides with super fine sugar. Shake off excess sugar. Put pansy on parchment paper to dry. You may have to turn pansies occasionally to speed the drying process. When dry, store in container with tight fitting lid away from light. Use as a garnish on cakes, tarts, cookies, lemon curd, etc.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cherry Tart-A Special Teatime Treat

Since I have received several inquiries about what my mom would serve at teatime, I have decided to share one of her favorite recipes. It is a rather old recipe. She reached for this recipe for almost every occasion. She would whip this up in a snap. Although I love to bake, working with pastry dough is not one of my favorites. If you are a pie baker, this recipe will be easy for you.

Cherry Tart
3 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 t salt
3 t baking powder
3 egg yolks
2/3 C milk
1 t vanilla
2 cans cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9X13 pan with vegetable spray. Mix egg yolks, milk, & vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Save 1/4 of dough for lattice top. Pat dough in pan. I thought this was a little sticky. I found that when I dampened my hands slightly, it helped. Pour pie filling over dough. Make lattice work for top. You might need to add a little flour to make the dough more manageable. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy...The middle pieces are the favorite in my family!

My choice of tea to drink with this would be Apricot Peach. The fruitiness of both seem to compliment each other.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The 4 Best Tea Party Herbs to Plant Now

When giving a tea party the beauty and enjoyment is in the details. Herbs not only add wonderful flavor to tea party fare but they also add beauty. It's important to remember that you eat with your eyes first and herbs can greatly enhance your visual enjoyment.

The 4 herbs which I love to use are chives, parsley, dill and mint.

The chives pictured in the white pot do very well as a patio plant or planted in your garden. I've had this pot for several years. They come up year every year early in the spring and are a welcome splash of green after a long, drab winter. Their purple blooms are edible and also are great as a garnish. The entire flower can be used or you can separate it .

Parsley, top left, is also great growing in your pot or garden. It generally is good for only one season. Once it goes to seed, it's finished.

Dill, top right, doesn't do well in a pot. It likes growing best in the garden. You can use the blossoms for garnish also. Dill is great at reseeding itself.

Mint is best grown in a pot. It also comes back year after year. Mine is seen here growing in a strawberry jar. Beware if you plant mint is your garden, it will tend to spread everywhere. It's best to keep mint pruned as it doesn't do well if you allow it to bloom. Mint, of course, also makes a great tea.

Herbs liked to be cut often. They are wonderful to use in fresh flower arrangements. As you do your plant shopping this season, consider herbs as a great addition helping you to make your tea party special in many ways.