Crumpets and tea, crumpets and tea, oh how we Canadians love our tea! Yes it’s true that we may not love tea with the same passion and dedication as the Brits, but a warm cuppa is a definite winner when it comes to comfort foods in Canada.
Coffee lovers will agree that a mug of coffee wakes us up but a cup of tea soothes our soul and feeds our inner spirit. When you cradle a warm cup of tea in your hands and the steam drifts around you like a damp cloak, your heart warms in response. Tea speaks to your soul.
Of course, there’s tea and then there’s the pinnacle of all tea experiences: the high tea. For the uninitiated, a high tea can be whatever you want it to be, from a decadently sweet meal to a more savoury experience. A typical British high tea would include the standards like sandwiches and scones, but could also include devilled eggs, meat pies, or cheeses.
Almonte’s Tea & Cake are experts in tea, high tea, and everything in between. This cozy tea room has been serving up flavourful brews for decades, and current owner Gwendolyn Neelin, puts her heart and soul into creating tea-for-two (or more) experiences that will satisfy the Brit in all of us.
Here she shares how to create your own high tea that’s fit for a queen, and even divulges her secret scone recipe (shhh!). If you’re missing sitting down with a fragrant cup of tea and a good chat, fear not. You can also purchase gift certificates for a future visit or order your own personal afternoon tea experience or sweet treat directly from Tea & Cake for pick-up or delivery (local delivery).
High Tea for Two
When making your own high tea you can include whatever you have on hand for yummy treats. Some typical favourites include sandwiches cut into squares or triangles (try making cream cheese and cucumber, smoked salmon and dill, or egg salad), mini egg quiches, scones with jam and clotted cream (or just whipped cream), fruit tarts, sweet pickles, and cheeses. And last but not least, your favourite tea!
Arrange goodies on a pretty serving plate (or if you have it, a three-tiered stand) and set your table with your best china. Brew a pot of your favourite tea and set the table with doilies and pretty flowers. The atmosphere is an important part of the experience.
Now for the best part! Gwendolyn has also shared her super secret scone recipe, so you can come even closer to creating a Tea & Cake high tea at home. Tea afficionados know that when it comes to a proper “tea” it all comes down to the scones. The best scones are fluffy and rich, with just the right amount of sweetness. Tea and Cake’s scone recipe has so far been a closely guarded secret – until now.
Gwendolyn’s Famous Scones
3 cups All Purpose Flour
½ cup White Sugar
5 tsp Baking Powder
¾ cup Butter
1 cup Milk
Directions: Combine flour with sugar and baking powder. Mix in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and milk and combine until it’s just cohesive. Don’t overmix.
Tip dough onto a flat surface and fold it a few more times to get the last bits of flour from the bottom fo the bowl, then use your hands to press it flat, at about ¾ of an inch thick. Use a three-inch round cookie cutter, knife, or whatever shape cutter you would like. Let dough chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, or a couple of hours in the fridge. The colder they are the better they will hold their shape in the oven.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then brush scones with an egg wash (a beaten egg mixed with some water) or a bit of milk. Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the scones. When ready, scones should be golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Your finger shouldn’t leave a dent if you touch the top. Serve warm, with butter and jam. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream for a truly decadent touch.
About Tea and Cake:
Tea & Cake is a lovely place for a cup of tea and a good, cozy chat with friends. Owner Gwendolyn Neelin is a barista-turned-baker who has a passion for food, tea, and British tradition. Gwendolyn loves to make the special cakes, pastries, and goodies that create wonderful memories in her tearoom and at home. For Gwendolyn, every woe can be made right with the right cup of tea, served piping hot in a pretty cup.
Locals Tip: If you’re missing your home baked treats from Tea & Cake, you can order your favourites like butter tarts, fruit pie, lemon meringue pie, butterscotch pie and more. Pick up and local delivery available.