Victorian Rituals

Tea Thyme Desserts

  • Lemon-Balm Cake with Custard Sauce
  • Butter Orange Mint Cookies
  • Chocolate Rose-Geranium Pound Cake
  • Rosemary-Lemon Verbena Tea Cake - New

  • It's such a responsibility having a minister's family to tea. I never went through such an experience before. You should just see our pantry. It's a sight to behold...we're going to have two kinds of jelly...and three kinds of cookies, and fruit-cake, and Marilla's famous yellow-plum preserves that she keeps especially for ministers, and pound cake and layer cake, and biscuits as aforesaid;...

    --Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

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    Lemon-Balm Cake with Custard Sauce
    Old-fashioned cooks used to pour custards on gingerbread and pound cake. It is a lovely idea and this herb will add a citrusy note to the custard.

    3 large eggs
    1 egg yolk
    2/3 cup sugar
    Grated rind of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    A handful of small lemon-balm leaves (about 1/3 cup loosely packed)
    Lemon-Balm Custard Sauce as an accompaniment, if desired

    1). Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour 8" square cake pan.

    2). Beat eggs and 1 yolk until combined. Add a little sugar at a time and beat until light light and fluffy. Beat in lemon rind.

    3). Sift flour with salt three times. Add the flour to egg mixture, one-third at a time, carefully folding into the batter. Add melted butter, one-third at a time, gently but thoroughly folding it into the batter.

    4). Scatter lemon-balm leaves on the bottom of the prepared pan. Carefully spoon batter into prepared pan, gently spreading, without deflating, into an even layer. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Loosely cover cake with buttered foil if it browns too quickly.

    5). Cool cake in pan on rake for 10 minutes and then invert onto the rack to cool completely. Serve with Lemon-Balm Custard Sauce. **See recipe below

    Lemon-Balm Custard Sauce
    Yield: about 1 cup

    1 cup milk
    5 lemon-balm sprigs
    1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
    1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    2 egg yolks
    1 teaspoon dark rum, or to taste
    Lemon-balm leaves as garnish

    1). In a small saucepan, scald milk with the lemon-balm. Remove pan from heat and bruise the lemon-balm against side of pan with a wooden spoon. Steep 1 hour. Remove and discard lemon-balm.

    2). Whisk in sugar and cornstarch then cook the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.

    3). In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until combined. Add 1/2 cup of the hot milk, whisking, then whisk the mixture back into the pan. Cook custard and stir over low heat until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

    4). Strain the custard into a bowl, stir in the rum and let cool. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.

    Slice cake and place on individual plates, top with custard sauce and garnish with lemon balm leaves.

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    Butter Orange Mint Cookies
    These melt-in-the-mouth cookies have the distinctive flavor of orange mint.
    Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

    12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 large egg, beaten lightly
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, if desired
    2 cups unbleached flour, sifted
    2 tablespoons minced fresh orange mint leaves or peppermint leaves
    Pinch of salt

    1). In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg, a little at a time, then add the extracts.

    2). Add the flour, a little at a time, then the orange mint leaves and the salt. Beat the mixture until combined.

    3). Divide the dough into three partsl Form each part into a log about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap each dough log in plastic then chill for 1 hour or place in freezer until firm, about 15-20 minutes.

    4). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the dough into rounds about 1/4 inch thick and arrange them on baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until pale golden. Remove to racks to cool.

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    Chocolate Rose-Geranium Pound Cake
    Lemon-rose or peppermint geranium leaves provide an equally pleasing taste to this pound cake if rose-scented geranium is not available.

    6 pesticide-free rose-geranium leaves
    3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups unsalted butter, softened
    1 2/3 cups sugar
    8 egg yolks
    1/2 cup half-and-half
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    8 egg whites
    1 cup sugar

    1). Butter and flour 10 inch tube pan (angel food cake pan). Line bottom with 6 geranium leaves. Preheat oven to 340. Sift together flour, cocoa and salt. Mix well and set aside.

    2). In large mixer bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add 1 2/3 cups of sugar, beating until light and fluffy. set aside.

    3). In small mixer bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat into creamed mixture at medium speed.

    4). Add flour mixture alternately with cream, beating until smooth after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Set aside.

    5). In large bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks start to form. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar, beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour into pan, spreading evenly.

    6). Bake on bottom rack of oven for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

    7). Cool in pan set on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Carefully remove leaves. Cool on rake.

    Chocolate Glaze

    4 ounces white chocolate
    Pesticide free rose-geranium leaves and blossoms for garnish

    1). Melt white chocolate in top of double boiler over hot water, stirring often until smooth.
    Arrange cake on serving plate. Drizzle top with glaze. Garnish with rose-geranium leaves and blossoms.

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    Rosemary-Lemon Verbena Tea Cake
    This recipe transforms a convenient mix into a moist delicious cake.
    Yield: about 10-20 servings

    1 package yellow cake mix
    4 eggs
    1 cup water
    1 package vanilla pudding mix
    1/2 cup oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons lemon verbena, finely chopped

    1). Mix all ingredients for 2-1/2 minutes.

    2). Pour in a lightly greased Bundt pan.

    3). Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes

    4). Cool 15 minutes in pan. Remove and add glaze.

    Chocolate Glaze

    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Combine and drizzle over warm cake.