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(c) English Tea Store – Crystal Derma

There is a huge difference when it comes to baking in the United States versus the rest of the world and that is weight versus volume. Americans measure using the US Standard while everyone else measures using weight. If you have tried to make a recipe straight from a British or European cookbook or baking mixes, you will notice that their recipes are laid out in grams (g) and fluid ounces (oz). In American recipes and baking mixes, it’s completely different. Everything is measured out in cups, both wet and dry. Teaspoons and tablespoons are used in both measuring systems but they are actually completely different when it comes to the actual measurement of the teaspoon or tablespoon.

The British measure their baking ingredients by using a kitchen scale. Many years ago, kitchen scales were standard and had to be manually calibrated. In recent years, people have been converting to digital kitchen scales because they are much easier to work with than standard. The only downside to owning a digital kitchen scale is that the batteries will occasionally run low or die and so you will have to replace the batteries every now and then. The perks of owning a kitchen scale are much better, as you can use one bowl to measure everything instead of having to use cup after cup like we do here in America. It saves a lot of mess.

It also very important to weigh EACH ingredient as you work with a kitchen scale since every ingredient is different. If you were to weigh about 200 grams of all purpose (also known as plain) flour and then need caster sugar afterwards, do not assume that they are the same amount. Every ingredient weighs differently. Get the scale and weigh the caster sugar. It may take a little more or a little less. For the US measures, weight is no difference. Amounts are exactly how they are measured. For one US cup (dry) to be measured, it is best to level off the excess with a butter knife for exact measurements.

Along with measuring ingredients, there is also a different way to measuring temperatures. If you are reading a British recipe and it says to heat the oven to, let’s say, Gas Mark 4, it may baffle you if you are unfamiliar with using a certain type of British oven. Gas marks are how to heat up gas ovens in the UK. Other stoves are marked with temperatures in Celsius, which are also known as Centigrade. Ovens in the US use Fahrenheit, so always look for the C or the F when looking at temperatures. American gas ovens do not have gas marks and can be preheated to Fahrenheit (some ovens may even have Celsius on the knobs), even if the stove is electric.

While it is good to use the American measurements, it’s even better to know how to measure the British way. It may seem hard at first but it really is easy to master once you get it working! Plus, you won’t need to convert any recipes!

-CD

 

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(c) Julia Briggs

Who likes anything with lemon in it?  Most of you I am guessing.  Even my hubby likes these biscuits and he does not like lemon!

The recipe for these biscuits is very old and I can no longer read the name but I know it was from an old Italian lady and began with B.

 

If anybody knows these biscuits then please let me know.

You will need:

  • 2 greased baking sheets
  • Oven 180 C  350 F  Gas Mark 4
  • 8 oz flour
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Zest and some juice of half a lemon
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(c) Julia Briggs

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar.  Cube the butter and rub it into the flour and sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg yolks,then add the  vanilla essence, lemon zest and a small amount of lemon juice and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix well until the dough comes together.  Shape the dough into a sausage and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Then remove the dough and divide into approximately 12 pieces, use your hand to shape the biscuits into either rounds, circles or S shapes.

Place on the greased baking sheets and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the biscuits are pale golden and firm to the touch.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.  If you like you can make some icing with icing sugar and the rest of the lemon juice for some of the biscuits.  They do go down well with a nice cup of tea.

-JAB

IMG_5859Savoy Biscuits or Lady Finger cakes can be eaten alone – with a cup of tea – or used as the sponge in a trifle.  Remember we made a trifle with trifle sponges broken into pieces well you can use these if you like instead.  There are softer and soak up the alcohol better or you can just eat them as a little cake.  Either way they are quick to make and tasty.  The recipe is a fatless sponge one.

You will need:

  • Two baking sheets lined with parchment.  Set the oven at 190 C  Gas Mark 5  375 F
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • 3 oz Plain Flour
  • A little icing sugar for dusting

You can use a piping bag with the end cut off and a plain nozzle in or you can just make them round by dropping a teaspoonful of the mixture onto the baking sheets.

We are using plain flour so we need to get as much air into the mixture as we can so start by separating the eggs and put the yolks and half the sugar in a mixer IMG_5852and beat well.  Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then gradually and carefully add the remaining sugar.  Now put everything together and fold in the sieved flour.  Taking care not to knock the air out.  Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe fingers onto your baking sheets.  Cook for only 15 minutes until firm to the touch and a nice colour, not too pale and not too brown.  Dust with the icing sugar and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.  They can be frozen for later use or stored in an airtight tin for a dew days.

Enjoy fresh from the oven with a cup of tea from our new English Tea Store sampler packs!

–JAB

 

IMG_5343Remember all those recipes we did using egg whites?  Well now is the time to use some egg yolks.  Custard tarts are easy to make and very tasty so here goes.

 

 

 

You will need:

  • 4 oz sweet short crust pastry,
  • made with 4 oz flour, 2oz butter and 2 oz sugar.  Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar.  Add enough cold water to combine the ingredients together and leave the bowl clean.
  • 2 eggs and one egg yolk
  • 1/2 pint milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Or buy some ready made pastry!  Roll out the pastry to fit inside a 7 inch flan tin and blind bake for 10 minutIMG_5344es at 190 C 375 F Gas 5 .  Remove from the oven and then reduce the heat to 180 C 350 F Gas mark 4.

Prepare the custard filling by heating the milk and sugar to almost boiling point then allow to cool a little before adding the whisked eggs and egg yolk.  Strain the liquid into the pastry case and, if liked, sprinkle the top with grated nutmeg.  Bake inside a roasting tin half filled with water for about 20 minutes until set.   Allow to cool before removing from the tin.  This can be served warm with cream or cold with a nice cup of tea. -JAB

IMG_5337 (2)No, not the fishy type…the cream bun type!  Oysters and a variation on Maids of Honour which we made some time ago.

It is a pastry base with an almond flavoured cake on top and a jam and cream filling.  In order to put the fresh cream in we need to bake the cakes first and then remove the cake bit and add the jam and cream.  Yes a little messy but it can look good in the end.

You will need for 18 buns: 6 oz sweet shortcrust pastry – made or bought.

Filling:

  • 3 oz butter
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of almond essence
  • Jam and cream

Oven 190 C, 375 F Gas mark 5

Roll out the pastry until quite thin and use a cutter (3 inch) to make 18 rounds, re-rolling the pastry each time.  Line each patty hole with the pastry.  MeanwhileIMG_5338 cream together the butter and sugar and stir in the almonds, egg and essence.  place a small spoonful of the mixture into each case and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and only when cool carefully remove the cake mixture using a sharp knife and fill each case with a spoonful of jam and some cream then replace the cake on top, tilting to one side.  Enjoy with a cuppa.  -JAB

IMG_5335Coffee Kisses, melting moments or chocolate shortbread kisses.  Whatever you you want to call them they are delicious.

I have made plain ones with chocolate on top and I made them rather large so they would photograph better.

 

 

You will need:

  • 6 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 3 oz butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 teaspoons of instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water if you are making the coffee kisses.  Or vanilla essence.

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4.  A greased or lined baking sheet.

Soften the butter and mix with the flour and sugar, stir in the beaten egg and either the coffee or  vanilla essence and mix well.  Divide the dough into 24  balls the size of a walnut and place on the baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes.  When cool sandwich them together in 12 pairs with either plain or coffee flavoured butter cream.  Melt some chocolate for the top if you have any!!

  • Butter Icing is made with:
  • 2 oz butterIMG_5334
  • 4 oz sieved icing sugar
  • Coffee flavouring

Mix everything together.

Try to sandwich them together just before serving as the butter icing tends to make the shortbread soft.

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(C) Julia Briggs- English Tea Store

We are coming to the end of the strawberry season now but you can use raspberries or in fact any fruit you want to top this delicious cheesecake.  Plus it is a no bake cheesecake so you can make it even if the weather is hot!

For the base you can either make one with a packet of digestive biscuits and some butter or you can use a ready made pie crust.  If you use a pie crust then you will need to melt about 4 oz of chocolate with about 2 oz unsalted butter and melt together before putting on the base of your pie crust.  I used

1 packet of digestive biscuits

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

4 oz unsalted butter

Make the biscuits into a crumb, melt the butter and mix into this crumb then use to line an 8 inch springform tin, pressing it down with the back of a metal spoon.  Put the tin into the ‘fridge to chill.

Meanwhile:

Beat together 8 oz cream cheese,  1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 1 tub of either cool whip or a packet of instant whip with 1/2 cup of double cream.  When well mixed put this mixture on top of the biscuit crumb or pie crust and chill overnight.  Just before serving. wash, hull and halve some fresh strawberries or other fruit and place over the cheese mixture.  Melt about 4 oz of chocolate and drizzle this over the fruit, serve immediately.  The cheesecake will keep in a ‘fridge for a few days but once it is seen it will disappear rather quickly I am sure.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Chocolate cake always goes down well for afternoon tea and my dentist, (whom I saw on Saturday) is very partial to chocolate cake so this is a new recipe just for her.  It is a take on lemon drizzle cake but chocolate cake with a Mars bar drizzle and a chocolate butter cream filling.  I discovered that you could melt Mars bars and drizzle onto cake when I went to the cupboard and found the chocolate gone but one Mars bar left.

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4  A greased loaf tin or a sandwich tin.

4 oz butter

4 oz caster sugar

2 large eggs

4 oz self raising flour

1 oz chocolate powder

1 tablespoon golden syrup.

1 Mars bar.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time with a little flour, fold in the remaining flour and chocolate powder and golden syrup and spoon into your tin.  Bake for 20-25 minutes for a sandwich tin and about 35-40 minutes for a loaf tin.  Always test with a cake tester or needle before taking out of the oven though because chocolate cake always looks done even when it is not.   Leave in the tin to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  Meanwhile make the butter cream with:

2 oz butter

4 oz icing sugar

1/2 oz chocolate powder.

Mix all the ingredients together and beat until smooth.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Slice the cake and spread all but one tablespoon of the butter cream on the bottom half.  Prick the top half of the cake all over and place on top of the butter cream.  Melt the Mars bar in the microwave for 30 seconds and beat hard with the tablespoon of reserved butter cream.  It will be liquid still.  Pour over the cake and leave to settle.  I made some plain buns and poured it over so you can see how it trickles down into the cake itself.​

Once everything has cooled down the top of the cake looks sticky but not actually covered in a chocolate icing so you can, if you want, cover the top with icing or leave it as it is.  I left mine and it was voted a hit by the dentist!

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

 

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Buns are so versatile, easy to make and easier still to eat with a nice cup of tea.  You can, of course, make this mixture into a loaf cake if you would rather.  For approximately 30 buns you will need:

  • 8 oz butter (softened)
  • 8 oz Caster sugar
  • 4 medium sized eggs (beaten)
  • 8 oz Self Raising Flour and
  • 2-4 oz dessicated coconut (depending on your own taste)​
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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

This is the usual creaming method so cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour with each egg.  Fold in the flour and coconut using a figure of eight motion.  Put a spoonful of mixture into paper buns cases which are inside a bun tray and bake for 15-20 mins until firm to the touch.

​Cool the buns on a wire rack then when cool make some icing with icing sugar and water and spread on the top of each bun, sprinkle with coconut and leave to set.  Enjoy!​

Cheese Pastries

(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

I do not eat onions, they are bad for my digestion, so I like to make pastry squares with cheese in them, but if you like you can make them with cheese and onions.  You can make them large or small, but if you make them small they are very tasty warm from the oven with a nice cup of tea.

You will need:

  • A packet of ready rolled flaky pastry and some nice strong tasting cheddar cheese.
  • Just cut the pastry into squares and fill half of each square with slices of cheese, how mu
    Cheese Pastries 2

    (c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

    ch cheese is personal taste.

  • Brush the pastry edges with water and fold over each pastry square and  crimp the edges with a fork.
  • Brush with egg wash or milk and bake for 15 – 20 minutes in a hot oven, 220 C, gas mark 8, 425 F, cool on a wire rack.

Of course you can make your own pastry and you can also make a cheese and onion thick sauce for the filling, however you make them I am sure you will enjoy them.

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