Who doesn’t love an English Afternoon Tea, with scones, cakes & sandwiches. Now you can see how it’s done with the Countess of Carnarvon and an online Afternoon Tea Party at the REAL Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle and Viking TV.
*Non Paid collaboration with Viking TV*
The Real Downton Abbey
Who doesn’t love an English Afternoon Tea, with fluffy scones, jam and cream, and an assortment of enticing cakes & delicate tea sandwiches. Now you can see how it’s done with the Countess of Carnarvon and an online live streamed Afternoon Tea Party at the REAL Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle and Viking TV.
Tune in THIS Friday the 22nd May 2020 at 7pm BST, with Viking TV, to see how Lady Carnarvon serves a proper Highclere Castle Afternoon Tea. The link to this online afternoon tea party is here: Afternoon Tea at Highclere Castle. And, if you want to tune in before then, you will be able to access all the previous episodes of Viking TV and At Home at Highclere Castle Fridays.
As well as telling you about the live streamed Afternoon Tea at Highclere Castle, I am also delighted to share THREE of recipes here, by the Countess of Carnarvon and from the Viking Cruises Wintergarden afternoon tea menu. Plus a fabulous Guide to English Tea by Highclere Castle and Viking Cruises.
A Guide to English Tea
Regular readers will know I am a huge lover of a quintessential afternoon tea. And, it has to be done properly too! With delicate china, a selection of teas, freshly made cakes and finger sandwiches, and not forgetting scones with jam and clotted cream.
So, I am thrilled to be able to share A Guide to English Tea here, which is exactly what it says on the tea caddy, it’s a concise guide to afternoon tea, and making that “proper pot of tea”. There is also a recipe for scones and a Victoria sandwich in the guide.
Three Afternoon Tea Recipes
I am now sharing the three Highhclere Afternoon Tea Recipes for Scones, Victoria Sandwich and Cucumber Sandwiches.
100 years ago, cucumber sandwiches were often served for tea in houses such as Highclere as it illustrated the family had sufficient hothouses with skilled gardeners to produce the cucumbers through the year.
- Cucumber (peeled)
- Bread and butter
- Salt and vinegar
- Peel the cucumbers and cut them into rounds as thinly as possible.
- Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle with salt and perhaps a splash of vinegar. Leave for about 15 minutes.
- The vinegar gives them a slightly stronger taste, and the salt reduces the water in cucumber so the bread is less likely to become soggy.
- Pat dry before using in the sandwiches.
- Butter each slice of bread and place a layer of cucumber on one side before covering with the other.
- Trim off crusts and slice into about three fingers.
- In the USA butter is often replaced with cream cheese as a more modern option.
Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake
Apparently, as a child, Queen Victoria wasn’t allowed sweet things very often, but during her reign a taste for teatime developed and a little sweet something to sustain the Queen and her guests in the late afternoon became “de rigeur”. Thus the Victoria sponge or Victoria sandwich cake was named and makes for a delicious addition to afternoon tea.
- 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing the tins
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- 225g (8oz) caster sugar
- 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
- 2 level tsp baking powder
- About 200g (7oz) strawberry jam
- 1/2 litre whipped cream
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and grease and base-line 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins with baking parchment.
- Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder and mix everything together until well combined. (The easiest way to do this is with a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer, but you can use a wooden spoon.) As soon as everything is blended together, stop mixing. The batter should easily fall off a spoon.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and gently smooth the surface of the batter. Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t open the oven door during the cooking time or the cakes will sink. The cakes are done when you can insert a knife and it comes out clean, they appear golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins . Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for 5 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a wire rack. Remove the lining paper.
- When they are completely cool, spread one cake with lots of thick, delicious jam then pipe (or spread) the whipped cream over the top. Sandwich the cakes together and finish by dusting the top of the cake with a little icing sugar.
Lady Carnarvon’s Scones
Originally made with unleavened oats and cooked on a griddle, scones today are generally sweetened and served with clotted cream and jam. In Devon, spread with the cream and then jam and in Cornwall, jam first and then cream – the choice is yours! Equally, the preferred pronunciation is contentious, as this rhyme explains:
“I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone;
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.”
The mixture (the dough) can be made in advance and kept in a container in the fridge. The secret to good scones is that the butter and milk used are cold, the dough is handled as little as possible, and that once cooked and cooling they are wrapped in a tea towel. Dried fruit such as sultanas or cranberries can be added just before the milk.
- Makes about 6 scones
- 225g (8oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- A good pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g (2oz) chilled unsalted butter cubed
- 25g (1oz) caster sugar
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 150ml (5fl oz) chilled whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas mark 8 and dust a baking tray with flour. Place the baking tray in the fridge.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
- Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar.
- Add the egg to the milk and pour just enough of it into the flour mixture to form a sticky, soft dough (you may have about 3 tablespoons left). Reserve the remaining milk and egg mixture for later.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board or worktop and quickly and gently shape it into a round about 2cm (¾in) thick. Handle the dough as little as possible and cut out 6 scones cleanly with a plain 5.5cm (2¼in) floured cutter. Place on the chilled, floured baking tray and brush each scone lightly with some of the remaining milk/egg mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 9–10 minutes until golden brown and well risen.
- Put a clean tea towel on a wire rack. Lift the scones off the baking tray with a palette knife and transfer to the tea towel and wrap the towel around the scones. Best eaten warm soon after they are made with clotted cream, and raspberry or strawberry jam.
So, why not dust off your posh crockery, get your pinny on and bake (and make) these recipes for Friday night, whilst watching Viking TV with Lady Carnarvon serving Afternoon Tea at Highclere Castle.
Once again, here’s the link to a live streamed Afternoon Tea at Highclere Castle this Friday 22nd May at 7pm BST with Viking TV: