Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

January 29, 2008


Tea Time

on-stand.jpgI was lucky to go to tea last week at the Four Seasons with two girlfriends. I’ve always been a tea drinker, but it was only a few years ago that I discovered the joys of a proper afternoon tea. I’m sure there are more and more places now serving “tea”, but the Four Seasons has to be one of the best! It does cost $30, but between the wonderful service, the beautiful atmosphere and the delicious food, you won’t even be questioning the price. While we were finishing our last sips and nibbling on our tiny pastries, I was already wondering when I could return.

My friend L. is writing a book on tea and I hope to do some more research with her in the not too distant futue. As I am not versed at all in the specifics of “tea”, I will not begin to talk about it. I just know I love drinking it, love the food that is served and love the ritual of a proper tea. When L.’s book is published I will fill you in and you can get the scoop straight from someone who is really in the know.

I’m meeting friends tomorrow morning and we’ll probably be having coffee, but I still have tea on the brain and so I baked these little cakes to take with me. When I first saw this recipe in Gourmet, I immediately thought of tea time. The only change to I made to the recipe was to add toasted, sliced almonds to the top of each cake.

Almond Cakes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 tablespoon melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting pan
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons almond paste (not marzipan)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400. Brush mini-muffin tin with melted butter and dust with flour. Knock out excess flour.
Stir together flour and salt in small bowl.
Beat together softened butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in almond paste and vanilla until well combined, then beat in egg until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Divide batter between 12 mini-muffin cups. Top with sliced almonds.
Bake until just firm and edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out on the cooling rack and cool about 5 minutes. Dust tops with confectioners sugar just before serving.

Time to put the kettle on!


5 thoughts on “Tea Time

  1. Paninigirl, although you mention that you don’t know a lot about tea, I am very pleased to see that you know more than some of the self professed experts who mistakenly call any elegant, afternoon tea service, ‘high tea’.

    The other day I called the Fairmont Chateau Laurier to make afternoon tea reservations and the hostess insisted on calling the scones and cakes they serve with a pot of brew High Tea even after I (nicely I think) pointed out to her that ‘high tea’ requires the use of a knife and fork while afternoon tea is a spoon and spreader food event.

    Gawd, all of a sudden I’m craving clotted cream and flaky scones….gotta go. : )

  2. Dana-I meant to mention “clotted cream”. I wanted to take home the little bit that was left at the end! I am addicted and could just eat it with a spoon!

  3. Well, tea time is all very nice, but what about wine time!? Who is doing wine time? Seems to me this would be a good idea for Four Seasons- maybe from 2 PM to about 8 PM.
    John from Rye

  4. John-if you’re buying, I’ll be there!

  5. I’m sure wine is a good thing for washing down clotted cream actually. Think about it: clotted cream is fatty and hard on your arterires. Wine cleans out your arteries. I think we can all be made happy in this situation!

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