How to Host a Tea Party at Home
If you’ve ever read a Jane Austen novel or watched an episode of Downton Abbey, you’ve probably already heard of "full afternoon tea." Not to be confused with elevenses or high tea, full afternoon tea often occurs between 3 and 4 p.m., and features treats, including cakes, crustless finger sandwiches and, of course, tea. Though it is often associated with the posh hotels of London, you don’t need to travel abroad to enjoy the splendors of a British tea party. With our help, you can do that right at home.
Miniature two-bite desserts, like these glazed cupcakes from Giada De Laurentiis, make a great tea party treat. Giada forgoes frosting, and instead tops her cupcakes with a sweet glaze made from frozen strawberries and powdered sugar.
Channel your inner British aristocrat with these scones from Tyler Florence. Tyler carefully incorporates fresh blueberries by hand into his scone batter to give them a splash of tartness. To give each triangle-shaped morsel a little extra shine, he also adds a lemony glaze, which he makes with fresh lemon juice and butter.
Fruity tarts, like these from Ina Garten, will instantly brighten up your tea table. To help turn out light, flaky pastry, Ina freezes the flour, sugar and salt for 30 minutes before creating the crust.
When it comes to tea parties, biscuits and tea are a go-to pairing. Aromatic and enticing, Giada's lemony biscuits have a ricotta and lemon zest mixture baked directly into them, which keeps them dense and moist. For a crunchy top layer, Giada adds thinly sliced almonds and a pinch of sugar on top of each before baking.
Ina uses shredded coconut in the the batter of this cake to infuse its layers with a rich sweetness. She then frosts the cake and blankets it with more coconut for an impressive finish.
Earl Grey is a staple at most tearooms, including London’s famous Dorchester Hotel. But you don’t need to sip it out of a teacup to enjoy the refreshing lightness of this time-honored classic. Give these tea cakes from Food Network Magazine a try instead. Each chocolate cupcake is hatted with a rich Earl Grey icing, made from loose Earl Grey tea.
You can use pistachios, almonds, peanuts, pecans or hazelnuts to make these wonderland-worthy sandwich cookies from the Food Network Magazine. Bake the cookies until slightly golden and pair them together so that one acts as a top and the other acts as a bottom. Use jam, frosting, melted chocolate, lemon curd or any other variety of your favorite spread as the filling for each, and enjoy!
Finally, no full afternoon tea party is complete without finger sandwiches. From Cucumber and Butter to Strawberry and Cream Cheese, these bite-sized treats are sure to have your guests raving. Click on the title above to explore Food Network Magazine’s 50 sandwiches to serve during an at-home tea party.