The first time I had afternoon tea (well, come to think of it, it was the first time I had a scone, too) was my first year in NYC. I moved here right after college at the same time as one of my close friends (amazing luck right?). Her family was Welsh so the traditions of the UK were as common to her as my Eastern European Jewish ones were to me.
So she had the idea that we simply must go for afternoon tea at a nearby British restaurant called Tea and Sympathy. Not really having any idea what she was talking about, I said sure. I mean it involved food so, hello, how bad could this be?
Well not only wasn’t it bad, it was amazing! Of course we picked a tea, well she did anyway. It was typhoo. I had no idea what that was. Then the waitress brought out a tier dish with three, count them three, tiers of goodness.
The top tier was finger sandwiches, little sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I had always heard of them but never really thought they were real. They were traditional British varieties—cucumber and cream cheese, egg salad, and smoked salmon.
Then the second tier had scones. She explained you eat them with the clotted cream and jam provided. Clotted cream was somewhere between cream cheese and whipped cream and to this day, one of the best things I ever put in my mouth.
Then, as if you aren’t ready to explode, the third tier was an assortment of cakes. I’ve later learned that at fancier places, they put out petit fours, macarons, mini tarts and mini eclairs, but this was three slices of cake.
So decadent. I mean we would normally only order one maybe two for dessert.
Needless to say, she had made me a lover of afternoon tea. I made one for her and her husband when they came to visit. I threw together a tea party for my 40th birthday.
And I highly recommend it for Mother’s Day as an alternative to brunch. I’ve even given you a completely gluten-free menu so there’s no need to miss out on the deliciousness. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea Menu
50 Tea Sandwiches from Food Network (Though I would pick only three or four.)
Chocolate Chip Scones (recipe below)
Devonshire Cream Recipe from Joy of Baking (Clotted Cream or Devonshire Cream are two names for the same thing.)
Jam (I like raspberry)
Mini Lemon Tarts from Making it Milk-free
Gluten Free Cream Puffs and Eclairs from Flippin’ Delicious
Step-by-Step Guide to French Macarons from Sally’s Baking Addicition (Macarons are naturally gluten free)
Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake with Chocolate Grand Marnier Ganache from Only Taste Matters
Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Only Taste Matters
Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake from Only Taste Matters
Strawberry Shortcake from Only Taste Matters
Yields 12 scones
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
Inspired by America's Test Kitchen's The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour mix C
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (feel free to substitute raisins or currants)
1 large egg
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
Some coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the eggs, yogurt, oil and lemon juice. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour mix, sugar, baking soda and salt. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Cut the cold butter into 12 pieces and add the the food processor. Pulse 20 to 30 times until the mixture has the appearance of cornbread. Tips: 1. Use cold butter. 2. DO NOT overmix and make a paste.
- Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the egg mixture and pulse a few times to combine. Tip: Only pulse a few times until you don’t see any flour. DO NOT overmix. It will make the dough very sticky.
- Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes. Note: Gluten-free flours do not absorb fat and liquid as well as wheat flour. Letting the dough rest gives the flours time to soak up all the goodness. Letting it rest in the refrigerator makes the dough a little less sticky and easier to handle.
- Position the rack in the center of oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Tip: While the dough is resting you can mix your egg wash.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured workspace. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form each one into a 5-inch disk. Using a floured knife or bench scraper, cut each disc in quarters.
- Place the wedges on the lined cookie sheet, 12 per sheet.
- With a pastry brush, brush each scone with the egg wash. Allow the wash to dry for a few minutes and repeat.
- You can sprinkle some coarse sugar or simply granulated sugar on top of each one.
- Bake the scones for 15 to 20 minutes. Tip: Be careful they do not get too brown or they will become very dry.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and salt. Set aside until ready to use.