Posted by: ktzefr | October 9, 2010

The Sweet Life…with Tea

A cup of tea, something sweet, autumn flowers, a good book, sunshine, blue skies…it’s all good.

Mums in bloom...

Some years ago, while working for an international organization, I developed a taste for afternoon tea.  I always looked forward to teatime.  I still do.

Here are five of my favorite fruity desserts and teas.  I don’t make any claims that the sweets are the original, authentic recipes of the various countries (I’ve tweaked them a bit —  sometimes a lot —  to make the preparation quick and easy).  I do claim, however, that they’re all delicioso.  Enjoy!

Tres Leche Cake

Ingredients: 1 pound cake (I use Balducci’s original pound cake or Entenmann’s all-butter), 1/4 cup Grand Marnier, 1 quart strawberries, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup milk.

Slice the pound cake into thick slices, cut again into four pieces per slice, and sprinkle the cake pieces with the Grand Marnier.  Layer half of the cake pieces in a deep serving dish, add a layer of sliced strawberries, another layer of cake pieces and another of strawberries.  Mix the three milks and pour over the cake and strawberries.  Chill in refrigerator over night.  Serve chilled with additional whipped cream.

(Tea: Ceylon Neeraja from Sri Lanka.  Grown at high elevations in the tropics.  Full-flavored.)

Blackberry Shortcake

1-2 quarts blackberries (fresh or frozen), sugar, Bisquick Mix, butter or whipped cream.

Heat blackberries in a saucepan with sugar (1/2-3/4 cup) on high heat until bubbly.  Turn to medium heat and continue cooking until blackberries turn to jam.  Bake Bisquick according to the recipe for biscuits on the box.  After the biscuits have been in the oven for about 5 minutes, remove them and use a spatula to lightly push down the dough, and then return to the oven to finish baking.  To serve place a biscuit in a bowl, add some of the hot berry jam, top with another biscuit, more berries, and a thick pat of butter.  Some people prefer whipped cream.  A spoon of heavy cream is good, too.  Additional fresh berries can also be added.

(Tea: Darjeeling Vidyaranya from India.  A crisp muscatel flavor.  This tea is good any time of the day with anything.)

Pannetone Plus

I love Pannetone at Christmas.  This sweet Italian Christmas bread is wonderful all by itself or sliced and toasted in the oven, but I also like to dress it up a bit —  add more calories.

Pannetone (choose any of the great varieties), mix of dried fruits, eg apricots, cherries, raisins, cranberries, Grand Marnier, whipped cream cheese.

Slice the Pannetone horizontally into three layers (as if it were a 3-layer cake).  Sprinkle Grand Marnier on each of the layers.  Soften the whipped cream cheese at room temperature until it’s about the consistency of icing.  Add the dried fruits — any or all of the above in a reasonable amount  — to the cheese.  Stir to mix and spread on the bottom and second layers as a filling.  Wrap the cake in foil and refrigerate overnight.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

(Tea: Himalayan Majestic from Nepal.  Beautiful tea with a coppery-orange color and rich taste.)

Hot Fruit Sundaes

Vanilla ice cream, pound cake, jar of candied kumquats, brown sugar, butter.  (Fresh peaches in season, instead of the kumquats, are wonderful.)

Slice the kumquats vertically in four pieces each.  Toss in a saucepan with a generous pat of butter and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.  Heat gently.  Slice pound cake and place in individual serving dishes/bowls, add a scoop or two of ice cream, spoon the warm fruit over the cake and ice cream.  (If you use peaches, make sure they don’t cook too long and are still firm.)

(Tea: Golden Monkey from the Fujian Province of China.  Smooth taste with chocolate undertones.)

Dates and Bananas and Cream

4 or 5 bananas, 1/2 pound pitted dates, dried and sliced in half,  1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 1 cup sliced almonds browned in butter

Alternate layers of sliced bananas and halved dates in a serving dish.  Pour cream over the fruit and chill for a few hours or overnight.  The cream will soak the fruit and make is soft and thick and delightful.  Brown the almonds in a hunk of butter and scatter across the top.  Serve chilled.

(Tea: Black Dragon Pearl from the Yunnan Province of China.  Fragrant, hand-rolled, and good for multiple infusions.)

Red on my mailbox

Have a good weekend!



  1. mmm… afternoon tea is the most important ritual of my day! thanks for the recipes and inspiration…

    • You’re most welcome! 🙂

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