I love hosting my teas. I started doing them a long time ago as an excuse to make a recipe I'm going to share below. I think one of the first ones I did was to announce my second pregnancy, and I held it on Grandparents' Day. It was fun. I held those with my family for a while, but then they sort of fell by the wayside, so I decided to invite members of my mom's group to come and attend a tea.
And attend they did.
They're a fantastic excuse to break out (bad term, probably, but oh well) the good china and silver and pretend you're all lady-like when in reality the house is bordering on absolute chaos.
I always make different foods for the teas, with the exception of one. There's usually a cake, some sort of cookie or bar, and sometimes a pie.
|Yes, it's smiling at you...|
Now, usually when I have these teas, Oz gets annoyed because I stress out. I've gotten better with time, though I usually just barely have things ready when people arrive and so I've never had time to take photos. This time, I was way ahead of schedule.
So I took pictures!
This is what the table looked like at 1 p.m. I schedule the teas from 2-4 on Sundays so everyone can avoid lunch and dinner and just eat *my* food that day.
OK, not really. Mostly I just need time to get it all done, and if I held it earlier I'd have to fix sandwiches. And I prefer just desserts.
This is what the table looked like just before everyone arrived. I'm still missing two of my dishes, but they were in the fridge and I didn't want to put them out till people started showing up.
What are those things in the middle, you ask?
They are why everyone really comes to my teas. It's not the tea or the cake or the cookies or even the pear pie; it's the pavlova. It does the hard sell for me.
Pavlovas are something I'd never heard of till I met Oz. They are baked meringues topped with whipped topping and fruit. The strawberry/chocolate one is very popular, so I've started making it every time and then vary the second one. For my spring tea this year I made a peach/blueberry pavlova.
Nom nom nom.
People are always asking for the recipe, too, so I've decided to post it. I love to make it more complicated than it really is, but if you have a stand mixer, it's the simplest recipe in the world (provided you can control the humidity in your kitchen and keep it below Oklahoma levels).
Make one for your family and/or friends; they'll love you for it!
3 egg whites
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
4 T. boiling water
1 T. cornstarch
3/4 pint whipping cream
1/4 c. sugar
Put all room-temperature ingredients into mixer. Start at medium speed and drizzle in boiling water. Turn to high and mix for 15 minutes. Turn off mixer and fold in cornstarch until thoroughly mixed. Pile mixture into a high dome on a flat tray covered with parchment. Make a depression in the center of the meringue for the filling. Bake at 275 degrees until meringue is crisp and has a hard shell, about one hour. Let it cool in the oven!!!! Beat whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form; spread over meringue. Decorate with fruit of choice.
Note: I usually throw the cornstarch into the mixer during the last 1-2 minutes of mixing. I also sprinkle some cornstarch onto the parchment paper to keep it from sticking.