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Uncommonly Delicious
Traditional English ingredients add a royal touch to teatime.

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Pecan Pie
Golden Syrup Gingerbread
Lemon Curd and Blueberry Tartlets
Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

(Family Features) - Whether you're planning a shower, a holiday gathering or a special get-together with friends, few themes are as inviting as a pretty table set for tea. Fresh flowers, crisp linen and good china offer guests ambience, but the real stars are the luscious tarts, cakes and pastries baked for the occasion.

And of course, the primer on proper tea parties and the sweets traditionally served comes straight from England. Made from recipes dating to Victorian times, jewel-toned Tiptree fruit preserves and premium Lyle's Golden Syrup bring a boost of gourmet taste and authenticity to your teatime spread. Tiptree has even earned favor in royal circles, including Her Majesty's household. And, Lyle's Golden Syrup has gained special status in the pantry of pie queen Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Delicious to look at as well as to savor, following is a selection of tea-friendly confections to help you and your guests celebrate tradition.

For more information, call (888) 470-0626 or visit www.tiptree.com and www.lylesgoldensyrup.com.

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Pecan Pie

Adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum, c1998 Simon & Schuster Inc.

  • See Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible, page 29, or pre-bake your own favorite pie crust in a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
  • 1-1/2 cups pecan halves (5.25 ounces)
  • 4 large egg yolks (2.5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (3.75 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (2 ounces)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Lace Topping (optional)
  • 1/3 of a 3-ounce bar of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, cold (1 ounce)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche, unsweetened, or whipped cream (1 tablespoon of bourbon may be added to whipped cream)
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    1. Pecan Pie - Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Arrange the pecans, top sides up, in the bottom of the baked crust.
    3. In medium, heavy saucepan, combine egg yolks, syrup, brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula and without letting the mixture boil, until it is uniform in color and just begins to thicken slightly (160¿F on candy thermometer), 7 to 10 minutes. Strain at once into small bowl and stir in vanilla.
    4. Slowly pour filling over pecans, coating their upper surface.
    5. Place a foil ring on top of crust to prevent overbrowning; bake about 20 minutes or until filling is puffed and golden and just beginning to bubble around the edges. Filling will shimmy slightly when moved. Cool completely on a rack, about 45 minutes, before unmolding.
    6. Chocolate Lace Topping - Place chopped chocolate in a small microwave-proof bowl. Melt in microwave, stirring every 15 seconds.
    7. Pour cream on top of chocolate; stir until smooth (should drop thickly from spoon). If it is too thick, add a little more heavy cream.
    8. Pour into reclosable quart-size freezer bag. Close securely. To pipe: cut a very small piece from one corner of bag. Drizzle lines of chocolate back and forth over top of pecans, first in one direction (front to back) and then the other (side to side) to form a lacy design.
    9. Serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream.
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Golden Syrup Gingerbread

  • 2-3/4cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Lyle's Black Treacle, or molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
    2. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large bowl. Blend thoroughly with wire whisk.
    3. Combine butter, syrup, treacle, and dark brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat just until butter is melted and ingredients are blended. Cool for 5 minutes.
    4. Whisk buttermilk, then eggs into warm syrup mixture. Pour mixture into dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center of gingerbread comes out clean.
    5. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Yield 12 servings

Lemon Curd and Blueberry Tartlets

  • 1-1/2sticks sweet butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease and flour tartlet pans, preferably with detachable bottoms.
    2. On a wooden board, work confectioners' sugar into butter, using one hand only, the other holding a pastry scraper to remove mixture from fingers.
    3. Sift cornstarch and flour together and work into the sugar/butter mixture, two tablespoons at a time. If pastry is too soft to be workable, add a little extra flour.
    4. Wrap pastry in plastic wrap. Chill for 20 minutes.
    5. Roll out pastry on floured work surface. Using 3-inch cutter, cut 6 rounds and line each tartlet pan with pastry round. Prick bottom with fork. Line pastry with foil or waxed paper and half fill with dried beans or rice. Bake 12 minutes. Remove beans and lining and continue to bake another 5 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
    6. Cool. Remove from cases carefully, as pastry is light and brittle.
    7. Spoon or pipe even amounts of lemon curd into each tartlet. Top with blueberries.
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Yield 6 Tartlets
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Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Tiptree "Little Scarlet" Strawberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Raspberry Seedless, Apricot, Wild Blueberry, Loganberry and Black Currant Preserve; Tiptree Orange and "Tawny" Orange Marmalade; or Red Currant Jelly

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
    2. In medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla extract.
    3. Mix in flour and stir until dough comes together. Chill. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
    4. Make a small indentation in center of each ball using your thumb, and fill each indentation with a preserve, marmalade or jelly of your choice.
    5. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and move to rack.

Yield About 4 dozen
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SOURCE: Atlantique, Inc. - Tiptree
Atlantique, Inc. - Lyle's

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