Thursday, November 29, 2012

Afternoon Tea - Forgotten Skill????

Sunday afternoon tea was a tradition in my house when I was a child. My mum was just finished with clearing the dinner table and did the washing up and the aroma of fresh baked cakes and biscuits would go through the house. Around 4 o'clock we all sat in the living room (eating was normally not allowed in the living room) and we got tea while my parents had coffee and we enjoyed the fresh baked goodies my mum made earlier. Sunday was always a family day until I turned about 16 and thought of myself too cool to be sitting with my parents and eating cake - how I miss that now. 

Of course, you could buy some cake and biscuits - and there is nothing wrong with that (but please try to get it from a local bakery/shop) but you might be surprised how easy it actually is to make your own afternoon tea goodies. In this series, I will give you recipe for lovely afternoon treats and hopefully that will inspire you to start your own tradition.

The other Saturday, Sally (a very close crazy friend of mine) and I decided that it is time to start that tradition again - so we divided the work (she did savoury and I did the sweet part) and it was a great get together with the girls without the alcohol. We chatted away and enjoyed all the treats. Sally did an amazing array of sandwiches with a menu. She named each sandwich (Italian Sun, French Kiss, German Forest etc). They were amazing and I will write about savoury options a bit later in this series. 

Here is a recipe for a Peanut Butter Tart - I saw a recipe in a magazine for a traybake and didn't like the look of it but still thought that it sounded good, so I went ahead and changed it around and this is what I came up with. It is very sweet but you can adjust the sugar amount in this. Also, I used individual tart forms which I thought were a bit big, but Mr T loved them as they were. Just one word of warning, this mixture will burn if you don't keep stirring - and I mean stirring.....

Peanut Butter Tarts

Peanut Butter Tarts
  • Sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 200g crunchy peanut butter 
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 100g plain (dark) chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 50g white chocolate (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160C.

On a slightly floured surface, roll out the sweet pastry and line your individual tart tins (you can also do one big one but I think it is nicer to have small ones). Cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans or coins (1,2 and 5cent only - they are great as they distribute heat evenly) and blindbake for about 10 mins. Remove the baking beans and baking paper and return to the oven until the pastry is cooked and slightly browned. Leave to cool.

In a heavyset saucepan, add the condensed milk, peanut butter and sugar and put on a low/medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil - keep stirring, especially from the bottom as the mixture will burn. Boil rapidly - still stirring - for about 10 mins until the mixture turns slightly golden brown. Take off the heat and stir for a further 5 mins. Leave to cool for 10 mins.

Fill the pastry cases with the mixture and leave to set in the fridge for about 30-60 mins. 

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Melt the dark and milk chocolate together. Pour over the tarts to cover the peanut butter mix. Leave to set. 

Melt the white chocolate in the same way as the dark chocolate and drizzle patterns over the set dark chocolate. Leave to set, then remove from the tins. 

Bon Appetit

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