Valentine's Day is right around the corner. While I understand the criticism and mockery surrounding the holiday, I love any excuse to combine pink and red and eat lots of chocolate. I had some girlfriends over last week for an afternoon tea. I kept the day-of prep to a minimum, so I wasn't stressed.
Buy and arrange flowers.
Set the table.
Make scones. Refrigerate dough.
Brush scones with an egg wash and bake.
Make tea sandwiches. Chill. Cut into rectangles.
Fill carafe with hot water.
Serve tea sandwiches. My friends are vegetarian, so I opted for cucumber with herbed goat cheese on white bread. If you want to have options, you could also serve ham, cheddar, and tomato chutney on wheat bread. Turkey, herbed goat cheese, and fresh basil on cranberry walnut bread would be delicious. Egg salad is also a classic finger sandwich option.
Sandwiches can be made ahead. If you use a serrated knife and cut the sandwiches once chilled it will be easier to make clean slices without tearing the bread.
From Entertaining with Mary Berry
2 loaves white bread, thinly sliced
1 hothouse cucumber, not peeled
1 recipe herbed goat cheese spread (see below)
Spread the goat cheese spread (or fillings of your choice) on one side of the bread, top half the slices with the cucumber slices, and sandwich together. Leave the crusts on. Arrange the sandwiches in piles of four on a large tray. Cover with a layer of damp paper towel, then cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place the tray in the fridge.
Two hours before serving, slice off the crusts and cut the sandwiches into fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature until ready to serve. They will taste as fresh as the moment you made them.
Herbed Goat Cheese Spread
From Ina Garten’s Parties!
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
10 1/2 ounces Montrachet goat cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
5-6 tablespoons milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic, thyme, parsley, 5 tablespoons milk, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well mixed. Add an additional tablespoon of milk if the spread is very thick.
I made scones the night before but baked them the morning before my friends arrived. I made classic scones with currants, served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. I was able to find clotted cream at Whole Foods (serve butter if you're unable to find any.) My scones did not rise as much as I hoped they would (a chronic problem I have when making biscuits or scones.) Luckily they tasted fabulous, despite not rising.
Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa Irish Scones
So. Much. Butter.
Finally, I picked up some French macarons from a local bakery. Macarons are high maintenance cookies and I much prefer buying them to making them myself. I got chocolate covered strawberry and raspberry flavors, which perfectly complimented the rest of the food.
Atlanta Hot Tip: Douceur de France, with locations in Roswell and Marietta, offers delicious French pastries and breads. Check it out if you're in the area.
I had a carafe of hot water and some tea options on hand, along with some lemon slices, cream, and honey.
Get the Look:
I kept the meal casual at the kitchen table, setting it with a neutral tablecloth and our everyday white china. For a pop of color, I picked up pink and red tulips, placing them in a couple mint julep cups. I added some pink and red block print napkins to coordinate with the tulips.
Thanks for reading!