The Tea-Zine’s new focus is on family. Family Tea. Every-Day Tea. Not just for special occasions. Family Tea Times weave simple traditions into our daily lives in meaningful ways – for the social, health and cultural aspects.
Each month we will share a new “tip” on how to make your at-home teatimes special. These suggestions from tea professionals who “live” tea at work and at home. You will get the benefit of their experience and come to understand their passion for tea.
In This Issue:
• Family Tea-Time Tip:
Include children in the preparation and serving
• January Tea-Time Recipes:
Cambric Spiced Tea & Crepe Fruit Cake
Family Tea Tip
Contributed by Babette Donaldson
Author, The Emma Lea Books
I’m offering this month’s tip to get this new feature rolling. In the future, you will meet the tea professionals who enjoy tea both publicly and privately. They will share some of the secrets that make their private teatimes special.
My favorite suggestion is to include your children in the preparation and serving. There is always something that can be done – even by very young children.
It might start with making choices. What flavor of tea will we have today? Do we want to read a story or just talk? Even very young children can help arrange cookies on a platter. You might go outside together to find a few sprigs of greenery or flowers to decorate the table. Or a rainy day project could be coloring special place mats to be used for teatime.
Older children love to pour from a teapot and quickly become interested in countries around the world where tea is grown.
A regular habit of Family tea is not something you do for your children and other family members. It becomes even more meaningful when it’s something you do together.
When my step-daughters were young and we were still living in Germany, they would help prepare an afternoon tea tray for our German tutor. We would prepare the snacks and I would brew the tea. They would take turns carrying the tray into the living room where we studied. One day their bus was late and we had started the lesson before tea. In their enthusiasm, they didn’t quite wash all the tempera paint from their hands. We still laugh about the way the tutor’s face turned almost as green as their hands.
Some lessons of hygiene and manners are best learned with a good belly laugh. There are some teatimes that are never forgotten.
January Teatime Recipes
The tea recipe is simple but there are a lot of steps to make the Crepe Fruit Cake. That makes it a fun project to do together with a special job for everyone.
Cambric Spiced Tea
Cambric Tea is an old-fashioned tradition of putting a splash of black tea into a cup of warm milk. To add a new twist, use a cinnamon spice tea or an orange spice tea instead of plain black tea. Sweeten with a bit of honey and serve when cool enough to drink comfortably. You can also use a whole cinnamon stick to stir. For extra savings, a whole cinnamon stick can be cleaned with boiling water, dried and then used several times.
Crepe Fruit Cake
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons club soda
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 cups apples, peeled and cored, finely chopped – tart flavored baking apples recommended
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 recipe vanilla custard (see below)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 egg yolks (large0
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs or cookie crumbs
Beat the egg in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in milk, club soda and oil. Gradually add flour and salt. Whisk until well blended. Cover and let the batter rest in the refrigerator for ½ hour. Make 5 crepes the diameter of a spring form cake pan. The batter in the pan should be very thin. Ladle in just enough to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat for 1 ½ minute on each side until there are beginning to show bits of brown.
Custard & Fruit Filling:
Scald the milk and set aside. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Gradually add the scalded milk while whisking the egg and sugar mixture. Add the salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the fruit and nuts. Stir together evenly.
Assembly & Baking:
Preheat oven to 350 ° F.
Butter the bottom and sides of the spring form pan.
Layer the crepes, filling and custard in 4 repetitions. A crepe should be the first layer with the custard as the final, top layer. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Remove the sides of the spring form pan. Cut into wedges to serve.
What is a Family Tea?
Any time of day can be time for a Family Tea. It can be as simple or as fancy as you want. And it can be different very time.