When it comes to classic British meals, cream teas are a must-try. Whether you’re sharing them with loved ones on a warm summer afternoon or enjoying them on your own, nothing beats a delicious cream tea recipe. So, what exactly is a cream tea, and how can you make the perfect one? Join us as we explore the fascinating world of cream teas and reveal our top tips for creating a delightful treat.
Unearthing the Origins of Cream Tea
The history of cream tea can be traced back to Tavistock Abbey in Devon during the eleventh century. Legend has it that after the abbey suffered damage from a Viking attack, the laborers were offered bread with cream and jam to sustain them during their hard work. Tea, however, wasn’t introduced to Britain until the seventeenth century, so it’s unlikely that the builders enjoyed it with their cream tea—a far cry from the cream tea we envision today!
Decoding the Elements of a Cream Tea
The modern cream tea consists of freshly baked scones, still warm from the oven. These scones are lovingly broken open by hand and adorned with a generous layer of fruity jam and luscious clotted cream. Among cream tea enthusiasts, there is an ongoing debate about whether the jam should be spread first or the cream. Regardless of personal preference, what truly matters is that the scones are accompanied by a pot of steaming hot tea. Traditional choices for tea include blends like Twenty Four Seven or Afternoon Perks. However, we have been hard at work concocting a new taste sensation—the aptly named Cream Tea blend. This delightful infusion of Sri Lankan black tea, apple pieces, hibiscus, elderberries, rosehip, and freeze-dried strawberries pairs exquisitely with a cream tea.
Cream Tea vs. Afternoon Tea: Understanding the Distinction
While cream tea is often enjoyed during the afternoon, it is not to be confused with afternoon tea. Cream tea focuses solely on scones served with jam and clotted cream, accompanied by tea. In contrast, afternoon tea includes additional components such as finger sandwiches and pastries. Sometimes, it’s the simplest pleasures that bring us the greatest joy!
Unveiling the Art of Crafting Cream Tea
During the first lockdown in 2020, people sought solace and sought-after treats like cream teas and afternoon teas, resulting in a surge of Google searches for these delights. In 2021, we now have more options available to us. We can choose to indulge in cream teas at tearooms or even create our own cream tea gatherings at home.
In honor of National Cream Tea Day, we have prepared a batch of scones infused with the essence of tea in the kitchen. Our unique twist involves infusing the butter with our new tea blend, Cream Tea. The result is a light and fluffy scone with a delicate tea flavor that pairs divinely with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Don’t forget to brew yourself a pot of Cream Tea to savor alongside these delectable scones! For an intensified tea experience, consider adding a handful of tea-soaked sultanas to your scone dough.
Cream Tea Infused Scones: A Delightful Recipe
Yields approximately 10 medium-sized scones.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 60g butter
- 25g golden caster sugar
- Approximately 100ml buttermilk
- 3 tea bags of Twist’s Cream Tea blend
- Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan forced.
- Spread a cooking sheet on the baking sheet.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter until it reaches a liquid state. Add the leaves from the Cream Tea tea bags and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the butter from the heat and allow it to steep for another 5 minutes, or longer if you desire a stronger tea flavor. Strain the tea leaves from the butter (striving to extract as much butter as possible, although some loss is inevitable) and let it cool until it reaches room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside a small amount of the butter for brushing the scones before baking. Rub the remaining butter into the flour mixture using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
- Pour in the buttermilk and mix until it forms a dough.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface . Roll it out to a thickness of approximately 1-2cm using a rolling pin. Use a fluted 5cm diameter cutter to create medium-sized scones, being careful not to twist the cutter as you cut. Place the scones on the prepared baking tray and brush the tops with the leftover butter-tea mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until they turn a golden hue.
- Enjoy the freshly baked scones straight from the oven with clotted cream, fruity jam, and, of course, a steaming hot pot of tea in the company of friends or family.To ensure you have the perfect pot of tea, make sure to have a selection of premium hand-blended teas on hand. While Cream Tea is our recommended blend, you may find other black teas, green teas, or rooibos teas equally delightful when paired with a cream tea.
Devon Cream Tea vs. Cornish Cream Tea: The Great Divide
Cream teas can be savored in tearooms throughout the UK, but a long-standing rivalry exists between the counties of Cornwall and Devon regarding the proper method of assembling a cream tea. In Cornwall, it is customary to spread the jam first, followed by a dollop of cream. Cross the border into Devon, and you’ll find the cream takes the lead, followed by a layer of jam.
This seemingly trivial matter stirs up passionate debates among scone aficionados. If you find yourself undecided, why not take a leaf from the Queen’s book? According to a former Royal Family chef, Her Majesty prefers her scones with jam applied first, topped with cream. One unbreakable rule, however, is to never substitute whipped cream for clotted cream—etiquette dictates that clotted cream is the only acceptable choice.
So, there you have it — a comprehensive guide to the humble yet delightful cream tea. How will you choose to enjoy yours on a great day? Whether you opt for the Devonian or Cornish method of assembly, one thing is certain: cream tea offers a moment of pure bliss and an opportunity to savor the timeless flavors that have delighted generations.
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