With tonight being the launch of Season 4 of Downton Abbey this side of the pond, I thought I would invite you to a cozy afternoon tea by the fire. Since the weather is still dreadful for much of the country, a steaming cup of tea with warm scones by the fire should get you ready for more Downton Abbey drama tonight! Although my living room is not as opulent and magestic as Highclere Castle’s, I’m hoping it will transport you to England to take Afternoon tea.
If you could invite anyone from Downton Abbey to tea with you, who would it be? I definitely would want to have tea with The Dowager Countess of Grantham, the formidable Maggie Smith. I’d love to be on the receiving end of one of her great zingers! I imagine she might tell me, “Although these scones are not as delectable as Mrs. Patmore’s, for a Frenchwoman, they are acceptable, I suppose.” Pass the clotted cream and jam, please, Mr. Carson!
For this setting, I brought a small round table in front of our living room fireplace and draped it in a pink underskirt tablecloth, a gift from my British friend, Claire. I topped this tablecloth with a smaller white tablecloth with cut work detailing for a layered and luxurious effect. Out came English china plates and tea cups from my collection and a very old family heirloom tea pot inherited from Prince Charming’s great grandmother. Starched mapkins and silverware completed the look. I potted a cymbidium orchid in a silver tea caddy
Foul-Proof Currant Cream Scones
2 c flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1/3 c sugar plus 2 T for sprinkling
1 1/3 c dried currants
1 c heavy cream
3 T melted butter
1-Preheat oven to 375F
2-Over a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in currants. Add heavy cream to bowl and use an electric mixer to blend on low until ingredients are just combined.
3-Dump dough onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly just to bind dough. Roll slightly to 1 inch thickness and shape into a round form. Score the surface to create 12 scones. Alternatively, you can cut out biscuit shapes out of your dough to create 20 smaller scones.
4-Use a pastry brush to paint tops of scones with melted butter, then sprinkle with 2 T sugar. Bake in center of oven on a parchment lined baking pan until scones are golden, 12 to 15 minutes, for smaller scones. Larger scones will take 15-17 minutes.
5-Serve warm with clotted cream or butter and strawberry jam or lemon curd, preferably served by your very own butler! Can be stored up to 24 hrs in an airtight container or frozen for up to 3 months.
Recipe courtesy of Gail Monaghan and the Wall Street Journal
Thank you for joining me for afternoon tea today!