Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tea for Ten

Polish the silver. Pull out the china. Arrange the flowers. Bake, stir and brew. It's time for a tea for ten (a silent auction item that raised money for A3M - Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches).

Tea for Ten Menu

Pre-Tea Champagne on the Patio
Italian Torta with Pesto, Sundried Tomatoes and Mascarpone Cheese
Assorted Crackers
Cheese Twists

Cranberry Scones with Creme Fraiche and Lemon Curd
Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Tarragon Chicken Salad on Rosemary Currant Bread
Dill Egg Salad Triangles
Fresh Strawberries
(Courtesy of Tanaka Farms)
Hot and Iced Tea

Miniature Pecan Tassies
Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate
(Courtesy of Tanaka Farms)
Tea Cookies

I think all the food was a hit, but the most-requested recipe was for the lemon curd. I can't believe I've lived in a home with a prolific Meyer lemon tree for 11 years and only yesterday bothered to make this sassy little dessert condiment. Smear it on the scones, swizzle it on the strawberries, spoon it into a miniature pastry shell or just lick it off your finger. It doesn't matter because this enhances everything it touches. I call it the ketchup of the dessert world.

I usually start my recipe hunt on Tastespotting, where I found 53 possibilities for lemon curd. I chose this one from Hey Good Lookin', Whatcha' Got Cookin because it appeared to be the simplest. For starters, it didn't require a kitchen sieve. I don't own a sieve, so this recipe seemed like a good match for me.

Lemon Curd
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 stick butter, cut into 9 pieces

- Combine eggs, yolk and sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth.
- Stir frequently over very low heat until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture coats the back of a spoon or spatula.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter, two pieces at a time. Let each butter pat melt before adding the next.
- Pour curd into a bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to keep a pudding "skin" from forming.

Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, but be prepared to devour it in one sitting.

(I'll post more recipes later on in the week.)


Desiree said...

Holy smoke, how beautiful is this?
The lucky guests!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

What a lovely luncheon. When I threw my friend's bridal shower, she requested a tea party too. No games. Nothing silly. So the bunch of us sat around just talking and eating. I made cucumber sandwiches just because I thought I ought, and the funny thing was that they turned out to be the most popular item. Who knew? I did another tea party later and my girl cousins got hooked on them too. I've been meaning to make lemon curd with my uncle's Meyer lemons too, but just never seemed to get around to it.

altadenahiker said...

I'm speechless!

Cafe Observer said...

Holy smokehouse, how tempting is this?
This looks awfully good looking to this canine!
I'd be speechless too since I'd be chowing down non-stop.

Susan C said...

Thanks, Desiree, WC, AH and CO.

WC, the cucumber sandwiches were surprisingly popular at our tea too. They couldn't be simpler to make, and yet they are SO yummy.

Once you try that lemon curd, you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner. I just finished up the last little smidgen with a few strawberries.

Margaret said...

Wonderful. I hope the weather didn't put a damper on things.

Susan C said...

The weather was touch and go, rain and shine on Sunday, so I decided to set up the tea service in the dining room. The guests enjoyed their champagne and appetizers on the patio.

Nelle said...

OH I envy the guests who were able to enjoy this feast. When I was in London I was so sorry not to go to high tea. I did have lemon curd and even bought a few jars home. Well done ladies!

Nancy said...

Susan, everything was perfect! Even the weather didn't put much of a damper on things!

Don't forget about the scone recipe. I'd love to make it on Easter!

I can't wait to do this again. I hope the photos will help drive the silent bids up at this years Silent Auction. (A3M's Starnight to be held on Sunday, October 18, featuring entertainer Lea Salonga! Save the Date Everybody!)

Thanks for everything Susan. It's always a joy to be around you!

The Food Librarian said...

What a great tea!!! Everything is soooo beautiful and looks so yummy. Yes, eating many little pieces isn't the same (at all) as eating a big piece! :) I'm sure everyone had a wonderful wonderful time!!!

Frankie said...

I made some lemon curd this week. It was a little too sweet for my taste but yummy!!! My neighbor loved it! I made the curd with lemons from one of his customers' backyard.

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