Becky’s Birthday Tea

This past Monday marked my mom’s sixtieth birthday. I planned a sixtieth birthday celebration for my dad, so I wanted to do the same in honor of my mom, even though she isn’t with us to celebrate. I also miss seeing her friends around, since they are all like second mothers to me, so I wanted to plan something to bring everyone together. When my mom was sick and near the end of her life, one of her friends planned and hosted a tea for her. Even though she didn’t feel well, she had so much fun spending the day with all her girlfriends, drinking tea, having lunch, and enjoying some mini desserts. I will always remember this party and believe it is one of the reasons why I love high tea. When planning her party, there was no question in my mind what type of party it would be…a tea party.

On our trip back from Europe last week, the flight entertainment system decided to not work. TWELVE HOURS of no movies, music, or TV. Since I was wide awake for 7 of the 12 hours, I made the best of it and took the time to plan my tea party menu.  There were some last minute tweaks but here was the final menu:

Sandwiches: Crab Egg Salad and Cucumber & Cream Cheese rolled in chopped chives

Scones: Cinnamon Raisin & Lemon Poppyseed

Scone Toppings: Strawberry Butter, Lemon Curd, Devonshire Cream, and Raspberry Preserves

Salad: Fruit Salad with strawberries, kiwi, apples, oranges and pineapple juice

Desserts: Hello Dollies and Peanut Butter Shortbread dipped in chocolate tea bag cookies

Tea: English Breakfast and Peppermint

Like any sandwich, tea sandwiches are best when prepared day of. I did what I could to prep for this by making the crab egg salad ahead of time. I love crab deviled eggs so much, that I figured crab egg salad would be just as good and it sure was.

Crab Egg Salad

Adapted from Group Recipes

  • 8 hard boiled eggs, deshelled
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounce can of crab meat, drained
  • 3/4 cup mayonaisse
  • 2 Tbs. mustard (Dijon is best)
  • 1/2 Tbs. dill
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • dash of paprika

Put the de-shelled eggs into a medium sized bowl. Roughly chop the eggs in the bowl and add in all the ingredients, besides the crab.

Once it is all mixed, gently fold in the crab.

To assemble the sandwich, put about ¼ cup of mixture on a slice of bread. Close the sandwich with another slice of bread. To make “proper” tea sandwiches, trim off the edges and cut in half diagonally.

Cucumber & Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each slice of bread. Place four thin slices of cucumbers on one side, close the sandwich, slice of the edges, and cut diagonally. Once cut, roll the two short sides in chopped chives.

I made these scones from Annie’s Eats before, and they were so good that I had to make them again. This time I swapped in some cinnamon and raisins for the blueberries. These take a bit more time than a normal scone, but they are totally worth it. Just get ready to get a little messy!

Cinnamon Raisin Scones

Adapted from Annies Eats

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface (up to ½ cup)
  • ½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl and set aside in the refrigerator until ready for use.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Grate the frozen butter into the mixture.

Mix the butter and flour mixture with your hands. Slowly fold in the milk mixture with a spatula until all the ingredients are mixed together.

Heavily flour your cutting board. Place the dough onto the cutting board. Start kneading the dough, add in flour as needed. The first time I did this, I was hesitant with how much flour I added, but it was a sticky mess. My advice is to add flour generously! Don’t be shy, just throw more flour on until you actually can roll it with your rolling pin. Speaking of the rolling pin, roll that dough out to about a 12 inch square. Then fold it in thirds.

Then thirds again. Now stick it in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

Bring it back out, roll it to your 12 inch square again. Place the raisins and the cinnamon in the middle third of the dough.

Roll it like a log and put the flap side down on your baking sheet. Cut the log into 4 or 5 pieces, depending on how big you would like your scones to be. Then cut the pieces in half diagonally to create your scone slice.

Brush on the melted butter, and sprinkle some more cinnamon and sugar on top.

Bake in the oven for about 18-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

My favorite serving for scones is lemon curd and Devonshire cream. I bought some lemon curd in London, so I served that at my tea. But I made some fresh Devonshire cream. I had made some before with cream cheese, but I think mascarpone cheese makes it taste like the real stuff.

Devonshire Cream

Recipe from Joy of Baking

  • 4 ounces marscarpone
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Zest of lemon or lime (optional)

Whip all the ingredients together with an electric mixer until it forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes.

For dessert, I made my mom and my favorite Hello Dolly cookies. I also saw these cute teabag cookies that just were too cute not to make.

I had helpers add the strings on for me! Look out for the recipe to come later this week.

My mom’s friend who lives too far away to make it sent these cute and delicious chocolates for party favors.

My table can squeeze in just about 10 people and the perfect amount came! We just relaxed, drank tea , cheersed my mom who was there in spirit, and chit chatted the day away. In my opinion, there is no better way to spend an afternoon than tea and treats with lovely ladies.

The quote of the day was said by none other than my grandma. When asked if she wanted the fruit salad she replied, “I’m not going to waste my time on that!” With all the scones and desserts to be eaten, we all laughed but agreed. I only made it in case someone wanted something not flour and sugar filled.

Happy 60th Mom. We love you and miss you.

This party was made possible by the Foodbuzz 24×24 program. Thanks Foodbuzz!

15 Responses

  1. Thank you for letting me be a part of this special celebration for your Mom. I had such a great time and got to hear what a wonderful and lovely person she was. You did it all and everything was just so perfect! Your Mom would have been so proud. Thank you.

  2. Oh, Caitlin! It looks so lovely and what a wonderful time you all must have had!!!! I do so wish I was there. Hope everyone loved the party favors!!!!! See you in May! Love, Jeanne

  3. BEAUTIFUL as usual, but she is my GRANDdaughter!!!!!!!!!!!! my favorite youngest granddaughter xoxoxoxoxo (but I must confess she takes after her mother)

  4. Hi There, Congratulations for 24×24 and A very Happy Birthday to your Dear Mom !!!!!!
    The menu is looking so delightful and appetizing. A very well made post with beautiful pictures. Loved all the dishes. I’ve bookmarked this special recipe of urs and wud love to give it a shot asap. Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks & Regards, Sonia !!!

  5. Oh my….what a beautiful tribute….I was moved by the love you put into this, the detail…just gorgeous. So sorry you lost your mother…I lost mine when I was 7 in 1969…I still miss her. Mom’s are definitely gifts from heaven. Thank you for sharing!

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