Tea and treats are a natural combo. Unfortunately, you can get into a real teatime routine (translation: dull treats). It’s good to try something different from the usual, something that will tickle your tastebuds as much as the tea does.
Time is here
To gather near
And have a cup of tea.
A slice of cake
By hand we take,
Its icing so yummy!
Yes, cake is one of the usual teatime treats. Carrot cake. Chocolate cake. Cheesecake. Pound cake. The list goes on and on. But teatime isn’t always about baked goods of a dessert nature. It can include more “serious” foods. One possibility is a little treat I came up with one day when just wanting something different to tempt my palate. Mascarpone cheese (used in making tiramisù) on plain rice crackers with a sprinkling of dill (fresh dill is better, if you have it) was the result. You can make mascarpone at home (scroll down the page linked here to see the recipe) or purchase it in the dairy section of the local grocery store. (Guess which one I did — oooo, you know me so well.)
Buffalo chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, cold meatloaf cubes with spicy mustard for dipping are a few other dishes I’ve tried. Cheeses and fruits are obvious choices. Celery stalks with various flavors of cream cheese, plus cherry tomato halves sprinkled with some dried basil and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, also come to mind.
Another possibility is Dim Sum, one of my favorite things. The dishes are varied but include a lot of delicate and tasty steamed items. One of the cutest Dim Sum dishes I’ve seen (believe me, the “cute” factor is very important in teatime treats) is Custard Rabbit Dumplings, as seen in Part Two of the Dim Sum post on Pleasure Palate’s blog. The dumplings are served at Mission 261 in San Gabriel, California. Personally, I think they look more like those marshmallow peeps sold around Easter.
Part One of the blog post includes several other tasty teatime treats. Such as these Glutinous Bitter Melon Rice Balls with Black Bean Paste from Happy Harbor in Rowland Heights. There are also Barbecue Pork Buns from Elite in Monterey Park, California, Shrimp Dumplings from Sea Harbor in Rosemead, California, and Chilled Coconut and Taro Pudding from Sea Harbor in Rosemead, California, to name a few. Check it out!
I’ve saving the best for last. The absolutely cutest, even though not the most unusual, teatime treat. Pies in jars. Yes, in jars!
Jenna of the blog Eat Drink Pretty came up with this wonderful idea, a real spin on tarts and pies. One of the best things about it is that the sky is the limit. You can put any filling in them that you would normally do for fruit pies and whatever design in the top crust you want. This one has a heart. She tried a lattice pattern, too, but some things work better than others. I think a cute pink bow would have been great here, but the little leather strap works, also.
Of course, you can always fall back on the “usual suspects” such as scones, fruit tarts, and cheesecake. I won’t call you a teatime wimp. Honest. I’m a nice person. Just make sure you serve an unusual tea, such as Lapsang Souchong, Tie Guan Yin, or Genmaicha, to give your tastebuds a real wake-up call. Enjoy!
Note: My thanks to the blog owners for permission to use their photos in this article.
Wow! That was a great post! And you can find more just like it over on A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!