cornish tea

Jam And Cream 

In my blog post, The Battle of the Cream Tea, I explored a major issue in scone serving etiquette – in what order do you put the jam and cream on the scone? The answer is if you’re from Devon you put cream first then jam and if you’re from Cornwall you put jam first then cream. The rest of us can chop and change to suit our tastes 🙂

Inspired by this delicious dilemma, I thought I would take all the guess work out of the scone saga and simply combine the jam and cream. I added chia seeds for the fun of it but also to thicken and stabilise the mix. My version is heavy on cream so you can play around with the proportions and add less cream or more strawberry jam if you like. You can also try different berries and fruits.

Whipped Cream with Strawberry and Chia Jam

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Ingredients
for the jam
1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon icing sugar
2 tablespoons chia seeds

for the cream
2 cups cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Instructions
Place the strawberries in a bowl and crush with a fork.
Stir in the lemon juice, icing sugar and chia seeds.
Allow to set for 5 minutes.
Using a wire whisk, whip the cream, vanilla and sugar together until stiff peaks form.
Fold the strawberries through the cream.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

I’ve solved one culinary conundrum and now to begin another! A traditional partner for jam and cream is British scones, but the recipe below is for American biscuits. If you’re not American, biscuits are cookies but for Americans, biscuits are a type of scone. There are some differences between American biscuits and British scones but for me there is not much difference once I cover them in lots of butter, jam and cream. That’s right – butter! The original Cornish teas had butter which was spread on the scone first followed by jam and cream.

To add to the conundrum, the biscuits below are not rolled and cut or patted into shapes. Instead, the dough is dropped onto a baking tray. That’s why they are called drop biscuits 🙂

Drop Biscuits

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Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cold buttermilk, additional buttermilk may be needed
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the buttermilk, honey and butter until small clumps form.
Add the buttermilk mix to the flour mix. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined and the batter pulls away from the sides. If the batter doesn’t come together, add more buttermilk a bit at a time until the batter can be scooped up easily but is not too wet.
Using a standard sized ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking trays. You should get about 6 per tray.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with butter or jam and cream or both.

The Battle Of The Cream Tea

What goes on my scones first – the jam or the cream? That is a question many face when confronted by a cream tea. So when the CWA (Country Women’s Association) were offering Devonshire teas (the popular name for cream teas in Australia) I couldn’t resist asking them. Their answer –  in Australia – whatever way you like! Free from the burden of choice I decided to try both ways.

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My verdict is if you like the jam to be the dominant flavour then put the jam on last, if you like cream to be the dominant flavour then put the cream on last. Either way they are delicious and a great way to spend an afternoon. But how did this battle of the cream teas begin?

While the origins of the cream tea are in dispute, it is generally accepted that a cream tea is a light afternoon snack that is comprised of scones, jam, cream and tea. The scones are cut or broken in half and then spread with jam and cream. Traditionally served in Devon or Cornwall, cream teas are now served worldwide. The confusion about which order to spread your scones has arisen because in Devon you put cream first then jam while in Cornwall you put jam first then cream. They take this issue very seriously so if you visit either county and have a cream tea, make sure you remember which order is “correct” for the county you are in. You don’t want to be thrown out of a tea room without tasting the scones! Now that is clear – problem solved! Not really … Unfortunately the type of scone, jam and cream are also the subject of much debate.

IMG_9177cScones
The original Cornish scone was actually a type of yeasted sweet bread roll called a Cornish split.
The scones of today are usually small cakes or quick breads leavened with baking powder rather than yeast.
Scones can be sweet, savoury or filled. Popular fillings are dried fruit or cheese.
There are different types of scones such as potato scones, drop scones, griddle scones and lemonade scones. American biscuits are similar to British scones. Some scones, such as griddle scones, are fried.
For a cream tea the scone should be plain, unglazed, baked and served warm.

Jam
Strawberry jam is traditional but as long as the jam is well made there doesn’t appear to be much angst over using other fruits.

Cream
Clotted cream is best but as it is difficult to get outside of Britain, whipped cream is a suitable substitute. Canned cream is totally unacceptable!

Tea
There doesn’t seem to be much debate on the tea issue. It should be black, very strong with a splash of milk and there should be plenty of it! Green or herbal teas are not acceptable substitutes. Sadly neither is coffee, as the name suggests 😦

So how do I enjoy my cream teas? In true Cornish style with butter first – that’s right butter first, then jam, then cream. Butter was part of the original Cornish cream tea. My experience in Australia is that you are served jam and cream or butter if you prefer, but never both. I save my butter indulgence for cream teas at home. My tea of choice is Earl Grey with a dash of milk.

If you’re a fan of cream teas I’d love to know what you do at home and what you are served when you go out.

And now from the traditional to a very untraditional cream tea – A Panda Afternoon Tea!!

The recipe below is from the (coming soon) cookbook – The Panda Chronicles Cuppycake Cookbook: Favourite Recipes of the Panda Kindergarten. The cookbook is a collaboration between me and artist Anne Belov, creator of The Panda Chronicles. Each cuppycake recipe will have a cartoon and an original painting by Anne. Want to know more about The Panda Chronicles? Just click here to visit Anne, her pandas and Mehitabel the Cat!

Please enjoy this “taste” from the Panda Kindergarten 🙂

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Bob T Panda’s Afternoon Tea Cuppycakes
Bob T Panda reinvents the Afternoon Tea with his Earl Grey cuppycakes served with Earl Grey cream and strawberry jam.

Ingredients
for the Earl Grey cuppycakes
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup superfine granulated (caster) sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 + 1/4 cups flour, sifted
2 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

for the Earl Grey cream
4 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves
1 + 1/2 cup double cream
2 tablespoons powdered (icing) sugar

for serving
strawberry jam
cups of tea

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.
Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 10 paper cases.
Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves and allow to steep for five minutes.
In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy.
Strain the tea into the batter then add the milk and flour. Beat for 2 minutes or until the batter is light and fluffy.
Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon the batter evenly into paper cases.
Bake for 10 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cuppycake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the cream by pouring the boiling water over the tea leaves and allow to steep for five minutes.
Whip together the cream and powdered sugar with a wire whisk until combined. Add the strained tea and beat until fluffy.
Serve with lots of jam and tea.

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