Celebrate the arrival of Downton Abbey's new season with the perfect cup of tea.
Downton Living: How to Step Up Your Tea Ritual
Ingredients: 2 cups flour; 1/2 cup dried cherries; 1/2 cup dried cranberries; 2 t. baking powder; 1/2 t. salt; 1/2 t. baking soda; 2 T. sugar; 1/2 t. nutmeg; 1/2 cup unsalted butter; 3/4 cup buttermilk; 1 egg white
Preparation: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Add buttermilk and mix well. Take dough and place on a floured surface; roll out using a rolling pin, into about a 1-inch thick rectangle. Cut dough into small triangles. Place each triangle on a greased cookie sheet. Brush top of each with egg white. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsalted butter; 3/4 cup sugar; 2 large eggs; 1 t. lemon zest (freshly grated or found in the spice rack); 1/2 cup half and half; 1/2 t. vanilla; 1/2 t. salt; 1 1/2 cups flour; 1 t. baking powder; 1 cup lemon curd (or favorite jam flavor).
Preparation: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add milk, lemon zest and vanilla. Add dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder. Mix together well and pour into greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool. When cool, use a melon baller to hollow out a hole in the center top. Fill hole with lemon curd and serve.
English Style Crumpets
Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups flour; 1 pkg yeast; 1 cup warm water; 2 ½ t. salt; whipped cream (optional); jam (optional).
Preparation: Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add flour and salt. Cover with a clean cloth and keep in a warm place to rise (about two hours).
Once it has doubled in size, thin it with more warm water if necessary to thin it to a batter consistency. Cook on stove top in greased baking rings on a hot griddle, filling the rings about halfway to the top.
Turn when dry on top and remove the rings. If the batter is too thick, holes will not form—so test one first, adding more water as necessary. Serve with your choice of whipped cream or jam, or both.
Cucumber Dill Tea Sandwiches
Ingredients: 1 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened; 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped; 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice; Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste; 12 slices good quality thin sliced white bread, crusts removed; 1/2 English (hothouse) seedless cucumber, thin-sliced into 48 slices.
Preparation: In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and dill, lemon juice and stir to blend; season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on 12 slices of bread; arrange 6 of the cream cheese covered bread slices on flat work surface. Top each with 6 cucumber slices; close with top halves of tea sandwiches and press lightly to close. Using a serrated knife carefully cut off crusts. Diagonal slice each sandwich in half and arrange on a serving plate. Garnish with additional fresh dill sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to hold.
Grilled Marmalade Fingers, or Toast Points
Ingredients: 8 slices of whole wheat or white bread, crusts removed; 6 T. unsalted butter, softened; 6 T. marmalade 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts of choice)
Preparation: Remove crusts from bread. Combine butter, marmalade and nuts, mixing with a fork. Spread on bread. Cut the slices into two-inch "fingers" or toast "points." Place on baking sheet and put under broiler at 500 degrees for about two minutes, or until marmalade bubbles. Serve warm.
Pound Cakes Petit Fours
Ingredients: 1 small pound cake (store-made or homemade, 10 oz.); 1 jar jam, any flavor; 1 cup vanilla icing.
Preparation: Slice the cake horizontally into at least three layers, more if desired. Spread a thin layer of jam on top of the layers--omitting the very top layer.
Stack the layers together, with the top layer "clean" (no jam). Cut the cake into bite-sized squares and place on a cooling rack with parchment or waxed paper below to collect the drippings.
Heat the icing in the microwave for about 15 seconds at a time, until it is pourable. If using store-bought icing, be sure to remove all metal covering before this step or transfer the amount needed to a separate container.
Drizzle the warm icing over the top of the squares of cake in a hot cross bun pattern, or drench each piece with the icing--your choice (more frosting may be required). Allow icing to harden before serving.
Ingredients: 2/3 cup flour; 1 t. baking powder; ½ t. salt; 2 eggs, beaten; 1 1/3 cup brown sugar; 1 t. vanilla; 2 cups apples, peeled and diced; 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Combine rest of ingredients. Bake in square pan for 45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Butter Cream Candies
Ingredients: 4 ounces cream cheese, softened; 1 T. unsalted butter; 2 cups powdered sugar; 1/4 t. mint extract (or peppermint); food coloring according to preference (use 2-3 drops at a time and mix well to test color).
Preparation: Cream together all ingredients except food coloring together. Place into a decorator icing bag with star tip, or use a plastic bag with a tip added. Squeeze out the icing in candy-sized drops onto parchment paper or waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for about two hours, or until candies have hardened.
If you prefer, you can roll the dough into a cylinder, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate, then cut or mold it into balls once it is hardened. Place on parchment or waxed paper and flatten balls with a fork, then refrigerate again until ready to serve.
Part of HuffPost Food Group
The DVDs were on your library reserve list for months and you never gave up hope that you'd be next. You refused to read the spoilers when last season's finale premiered in the U.K., and the concept of a day revolving around getting dressed, taking a nap and eating has you more than a little intrigued. Yes, you're a Downton Abbey fan. But how to bring some Downton living to your home now that you're in a full Season 4 frenzy?
The biggest learning from all that Downton watching? Do tea right. Americans threw the most famous tea party of all time and yet we haven't mastered the art of all things tea. We pay so much attention to coffee and buzzing through the week that we neglect the fine details that make drinking tea both a ritual and an excuse to slow down and relax.
Here's what you need to know to make the perfect cup of tea and throw a classic tea party. The Dowager Countess of Grantham would approve. And please take a breath. Downton Abbey may very well live beyond season 5.
6 Tips for a Perfect Cup of Tea:
Fun Facts About Tea Service:
Click on the slideshow above for some classic afternoon tea recipes.