Archive | April, 2011

Wedding Bells and Cream Tea

28 Apr

Come 3 a.m., we are rising for a cream tea to take in the Royal Wedding, slumber party-style.

Sausage rolls? Check. Devonshire cream? Check. Freshly baked scones? Check. Strawberry jam? On top and yes, check.

Looking forward to crazy expensive Royal Wedding Tea from Murchies. But before that, a little bubbly and orange juice.

Sigh. Being crazy is such fun.

Here’s a little treat from Buck House we found online:

Buckingham Palace Shortbread
This is the recipe used to make shortbread for the Queen’s tea every day. It has been used at Buckingham Palace for many years. From former BP chef John Higgins.

1 cup (250ml) soft butter

1/2 cup (125ml) icing sugar

1/2 cup (125ml) corn starch

1 cup (250ml) bread flour

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a dough-like consistency.

Roll out to a 1/2-inch (1.2cm) thickness and cut into circles or fingers.

Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celcius) oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

When golden in colour remove from oven and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Leave on wire rack until completely cooled. Makes 16 cookies.


Buckingham Palace Shortbread

2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. granulated sugar
4 c. pastry flour
1 1/3 c. cornstarch
Superfine sugar for sprinkling

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Use the electric mixer with this recipe as long as the beaters will turn. It will make them very light. In a medium bowl, stir the flour and cornstarch together. Gently mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it forms a soft dough. You can usually do this with a hand mixer until there is about 3/4 cup of flour mixture left then you will have to stir that in or work in with your fingers. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 15 minutes, or until firm. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dust dough lightly with flour and roll it out to 3/4-inch thick square on a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the parchment paper and dough to a baking sheet. Bake in the center of preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with superfine sugar. While still warm, use a paring knife to cut the shortbread into 48 pieces.


From Darren McGrady’s Eating Royally

This recipe has literally been used for centuries. At Balmoral, we made it every day. If you don’t have shortbread molds roll the dough into a log and cut 1/2 inch cookies.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup powdered sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter

1/4 cup vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Place sheet of parchment on baking sheet. Sift flour, cornstarch and powdered sugar into large bowl. Cut the butter in, rubbing into flour mix until it forms into a ball. Lightly dust a shortbread mold with flour and press dough into mold. Trim off any excess. (if using wood mold, tip out and prick all over with a fork. For ceramic mold, bake directly in mold).

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and mark into wedges with a knife, cutting about one-third of the way through.  Sprinkle with vanilla sugar and cool on rack.


Snow ice cream

3 Apr

Driving was a major headache with today’s spring snowfall, but it prompted my Dad to remind us conditions were perfect for building snowmen.

“And snow ice cream,” we jinxed each other.

I am still breathlessly puzzled that after living in a city with five months of winter, we seem to be the only family who makes snow ice cream.

Conditions must be optimal: the gallon chili pot was always plonked outside to collect fresh, fluffy snow pouring down from the sky unabated by wind.

When it was full, we’d add up to one cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and two cups of milk. Combine and eat immediately. We used to refreeze it to get it a bit stiffer, as the milk melts the snow so fast.

It’s that simple. Other versions mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with a splash of vanilla.

But today, we were out of both milk and canned varieties and hit the bottle — Baileys Irish Cream it was.

The leftover bottle, purchased for a Christmas yule log recipe, was languishing at the back of the fridge and seemed a perfect stand in.

I won’t say it was a mistake.