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Monday, March 21, 2011

Brunch...and Earl Grey Teacakes!

Champagne and Orange Juice...ready for Mimosas


Brunch...and Earl Grey Teacakes!
by Victoria Challancin

As a tribute to dear friends visiting San Miguel from Massachusetts, my sister-in-law and I gave a brunch... a brunch as an excuse to get together, a brunch full of goodies, a brunch to honor people we love and enjoy.  A perfect idea--brunch!

The Menu:

Mimosas (of course)
Fruit Salad (to showcase the plentiful fruits we have available to us here in Mexico) with 
Yogurt with a hint of Agave Nectar
Pumpkin Muffins (Donna makes the Best!) with local Organic Butter
A Green Salad full of yummy organic lettuces with a scrumptious Mango Dressing that I posted here)
Mini Shrimp Quiches (Donna's famous Shrimp Quiches...oh my...)
Cheese Straws (purchased, but why not?)
Asparagus with a light, Lemony Vinaigrette (Asparagus grow all around us in the Bajio area of Mexico and are a true gift of Spring)
Earl Grey Sour Cream Teacakes with Earl Grey Glaze (because everyone needs a little dessert...always)

The table...ready to go!


I chose to make these Earl Grey Cakes because they are a favorite of my son, who was visiting, and also because they are always well-received.  I don't think I have ever served them without sending home a doggy bag brimming with the little cakes--and the recipe, of course.  

I first found this recipe a few years ago while searching for the perfect small-sized dessert to serve at the end of a meal I prepared for friends from India.  I happened to know that the husband loved Earl Grey tea, so I almost shouted "Eureka!" when I stumbled upon this recipe from pastry Chef Gale Gand of Food Network. Since that time, I have made it often.

Earl Grey Sour Cream Teacakes with Earl Grey Glaze

Cook's Note:  I like to make these in a mini-muffin pan, just because it allows guests to eat several without feeling guilty!  I also just dipped the tops of the cakes in the glaze, instead of the bottoms as in the recipe.  And for my San Miguel readers, note that I didn't even adjust the recipe for high altitude, though they might have been a bit taller if I had.  Still, I can't complain with the results.  And neither did our guests.

Sour Cream Seed Cakes with Earl Grey Glaze

(Recipe by Gale Gand for Food Network)

1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
3/4 cup strong, freshly brewed Earl Grey tea (I used 4 teabags)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cool unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Equipment:  8 mini-loaf pans (2 by 3 1/2 inches) or a muffin tin (or mini-muffin tin--with paper liners, as I used), buttered and floured, unless pans are non-stick

To make the cake:  Combine both kinds of seeds and 1/2 cup of the tea in a bowl.  Let soak to absorb and soften while you prepare the other ingredients.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.  Cream the butter until smooth in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer).  Add the sugar and sour cream together until soft and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix.

With the mixer running at low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients and mix.  Then add half of the sour cream and mix.  Add another third of the dry ingredients and mix.  Add the remaining sour cream and mix.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Add the seeds with their soaking liquid and mix until smooth.  Pour into the pans and bake until firm in the center, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool in the pans.

To make the glaze:  Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of tea and the confectioners' sugar in a bowl until smooth.  When the cakes have cooled, turn them out onto a work surface.  Give the glaze a stir.  Dip the bottom (the narrower side of each cake lightly into the glaze until coated.  Turn over so the glazed side becomes the top and set aside to harden.  


Enjoy!

Perfect dinner plates--with that touch of humor that we so appreciate here in Mexico

Mangoes, Strawberries, Raspberries...all from here...with a Kiwi thrown in for color

Perfect Mexican asparagus...before they were dressed with vinaigrette


Donna's Mini-Shrimp Quiches with a Butter Crust..(.I so wish my Father were still with us as he could have eaten the whole plate--a real family holiday favorite, this recipe...)

The Mango Vinaigrette I made recently in my cooking classes for Mexican cooks--so refreshing and pretty




 There is just something so magical about these stems, though the flowers, a gift from our guests, were perfect





Summary:  The food was tasty, of course it was, but our guests were the focal point.  And for them and for all of the bounty we enjoy in life, I do give thanks!

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.


4 comments:

Ben said...

What an amazing breakfast! I need to go visit you soon :D

Victoria Challancin said...

Please do visit, Ben. We are just a bus ride (or two--via Querétaro) away! Just le me know!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a treat it would be to be one of your guests! And here am I sipping on an early morning cup of Earl Grey tea and wishing I had a tea cake to match! :D

Dimah said...

Wow they look super delicious!