Ham, Tomato, and Onion Mini Quiches

This modified version of Mary Pielenz Hampton’s recipe in A Tea for All Seasons is easy and delicious. Mary uses tartlet pans and a pastry recipe. But I use a regular muffin pan, lining each cup with Pillsbury pie dough cut to size.


6 eggs

3 cups half and half

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoons pepper

1 ½ cups gruyere or cheddar cheese*

1 cup country ham chopped into ¼ inch squares

1 cup Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 Sweet Vidalia Onion, chopped into small pieces*

¼ cup fresh chives

2  rolls Pillsbury Pie Dough (I Package)


  • Gruyere is a tasty substitute for cheddar cheese.
  • The original recipe did not call for onions, but I found adding thin slices of Vidalia onions added a layer of flavor to the quiche.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a cup or bowl 4 inches wide at the top, cut out 14 round pieces of pie dough and line the muffin cups with the dough. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese, ham, and several pieces of onion on the bottom of the uncooked crust, and top with the tomato. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and sprinkle a pinch of the chives over the top. Bake 40 – 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.


Easy Scones

Traditional scones use butter and eggs, but my husband and I found this recipe at the Cliff Manor Bed & Breakfast during a bike trip with friends on the Katy Trail in Jefferson City, Missouri. My family has made it ever since, with one small change. Instead of using only unbleached flour, I use half unbleached flour and half cake flour to make the scones lighter.


1 ½ cups flour ( ¾ cup regular unbleached, ¾ cup cake flour)

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup dried fruit of your choice (raisins, cran-raisins, dried apricots cut into pieces, etc.)

Granulated Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move oven rack to middle position.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Add the dried fruit. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add ¾ cup of the whipping cream. Stir the mixture until it comes together.

Lightly flour the counter surface and hands and gently knead the dough until it forms a ball. Roll or pat out the dough into an 8-inch circle. Brush the remainder of the whipping cream onto the circle of dough and sprinkle with granulated sugar. With a pizza cutter, cut the circle into 8 sections.*

Transfer the dough wedges onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart, and bake 18 minutes or until the scones are golden brown on top and bottom. Serve warm with Devonshire Cream, strawberry or raspberry jam, or lemon curd.

*Traditional scones are cut into triangles, but sometimes, we use a cookie cutter to make seasonal shapes.

Basic Scones

Scones are easy to make, and you can add all kinds of dried fruits and flavorings to them. Here is a basic recipe to whet your appetite.


2 cups flour

1tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

Lemon zest of one whole lemon

6 tablespoons butter out of the refrigerator

½ cup buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in 6 tablespoons of butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, use regular milk. Mix until dough clings together and is a bit sticky—do not overmix. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and shape into a 6 60 8-inch round about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut into pie wedges. The secret of tender scones is minimum handling. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Brush with egg for a shiny, beautiful brown scone. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the egg wash if you want.

Petite White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

These bite-sized scones are the perfect confection for afternoon teas.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sgar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, refrigerated

¾ cup whipping cream

¾ cup sweetened cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 ½ cups white baking chips

2 teaspoons butter, room temperature

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in whipping cream; mix until dough holds together. Stir in cranberries and ¾ cup white baking chips.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 10 times or until dough is smooth. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; shape into an 8-inch log. Cut each log into 4 (2-inch) pieces; cut each piece in half diagonally to form small triangles.

Place scones 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool.

Combine the remaining ½ cup baking chips and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave and stir every 30 seconds until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle scones with melted chocolate.

Mock Devonshire Cream

Devonshire Cream is almost impossible to get in the United States unless you find an authentic British-made goods store. For one thing, the US has many restrictions on food products coming into the United States. Also, the people of Devon hold dear their closely guarded recipe even in Great Britain. So, Americans have developed Mock Devonshire Cream to approximate the taste. Most recipes combine some portion of heavy cream, cream cheese or butter, sour cream, and sometimes confectionary sugar to add sweetness to the cream. However, authentic Devonshire Cream isn’t very sweet. The Pioneer Woman, Taste of Home, and Confessions of a Baking Queen have recipes online if you want to make your Devonshire Cream more traditional.

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is a tart and tasty spread that can be found on your favorite grocery store shelf. I recommend Bonne Maman and Tiptree Lemon Curd by Wilkin & Sons, Ltd. But if you want to make authentic lemon curd that competes with the brands, it’s fun and easy to do.


Grated peel of 4 lemons

1 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

4 eggs beaten

½ cup butter, cut into small pieces

2 cups sugar

In the top of a large double boiler, combine lemon peel, lemon juice, eggs, butter, and sugar. Place over simmering water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and smooth. While hot, pour into hot, sterilized 1/2-pint canning jars, leaving about 1/8 inch for headspace. Run a narrow spatula between lemon curd and the side of the jar to release air. Top with sterilized lids; firmly screw on bands. Cool and refrigerate. Best used within the first two weeks of making.


Where did the Sandwich come from anyway?

Sandwiches were the ingenious invention of Great Britain’s fourth Earl of Sandwich, who, because of his sometimes days-long gambling sessions, needed to satisfy another great urge—the hunger in his stomach, came up with a fast and simple solution. Put a slice of meat between two pieces of bread, and one could get back down to business. It’s said that after the Earl scarfed down his first sandwich, he won ten thousand pounds. Also of note, Captain James Cook named the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich.

Traditional Cucumber Sandwiches

Peel a cucumber and slice into paper-thin slices. Sprinkle the slices with vinegar and salt. After a half hour, rinse and drain the excess cucumber juice in a sieve. Lightly butter two slices of brown bread, then cover one slice with two layers of cucumbers and top with the other slice of bread. Apply firm pressure with the palm of your hand. Slice off the crusts and cut into three rectangles.

Modern Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Peel and remove seeds from a cucumber. Slice thinly. Lightly butter and spread cream cheese on six slices of whole-wheat bread. Place a layer of cucumbers on top of one slice. Salt lightly. Top the cucumbers with the second slice of bread. Slice off the crusts and cut into four triangles.

*Note: A ¼ cup of loosely packed mint leaves chopped fine can be mixed into the butter before spreading onto the bread.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Many variations of this sandwich exist. Start with a good basic recipe, then add as many other ingredients as you like.


2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons salt

½ cup good mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 small red onion chopped*

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

Ground black pepper to taste

White or whole-wheat bread

*Optional: Substitute 1 minced shallot for the red onion

Dissolve the salt in chicken broth or water in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a low boil, then add chicken to the water, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for ten minutes or until the chicken registers 165 degrees. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool for 30 minutes.

Whisk mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and pepper together in a large bowl.

Pat chicken dry and cut into ¼ inch cubes. Add to the bowl. Add chopped celery, onion, parsley, and tarragon. Toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon chicken salad onto a slice of bread and cover with the second slice. Slice off the crust and cut into two triangles. Note: small-size croissants can substitute bread.

Possible Ingredients to change up the mood:

¼ cup craisins

¼ roasted almond slivers

Chopped walnuts

Red grapes halved

Green apple cut into small pieces

Curry Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Chocolate Crackle Cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar, plus more for dipping

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until dough is firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip top of each ball into sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake until set, 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

So easy to make, Bacon-Wrapped Dates have become the quintessential yummy, modern appetizer. It’s best to use long, thin (not thick) bacon that wraps easily around the dates.


Pitted Dates

4 oz. log of goat cheese

12 to 24 slices of Thin cut Bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the meantime, fill pitted dates with a generous amount of goat cheese. Set aside. Place slices of bacon on a jelly roll pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes until bacon is pliable but not completely cooked. Cool and cut into pieces long enough to wrap once around the dates. Use toothpicks to hold the bacon-wrapped dates together. Place the prepared bacon-wrapped dates onto a 9X13 pan with a wire rack fixed over it to catch the bacon grease. Bake until the bacon is fully cooked, approximately 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve on an appetizer tray.

Stuffed Mushrooms


20 small white button mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons minced shallots

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup soft breadcrumbs (1 - 2 slices of quality white bread processed into crumbs in a food processor)

½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

8 slices Thin-cut bacon torn into bits

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons of water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Select well-shaped round mushrooms with closed caps and deep centers. Wash and drain on paper towels. Pull stems from the mushrooms and finely chop into bits in a food processor. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add finely chopped mushroom stems and shallots. Sauté. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, soft breadcrumbs, cheese, bacon bits, salt, and pepper. Fill mushroom caps with a heaping teaspoon of the sautéd mixture. Put the water in a shallow dish and place the mushrooms in the dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Serve hot.

You can find more authentic British Tea recipes, including Tea Cakes, Lemon Curd, Short Bread, and many others in The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea. Inside, you will also find how the tradition of Afternoon Tea got started as a culinary and social event and how to make the perfect cup of tea.


Virgin Punch

This punch is a refreshing drink that everyone loves.


2 cans of concentrated pineapple juice

2 cans of concentrated orange juice

2 liters Gingerale*

Add an ice ring with cranberries, mandarine slices, and lime slices liberally spread throughout. (optional)

Add pineapple or orange sherbert for a frothier drink (optional).

Mix all ingredients together, adding 3 cans of water per concentrated juice container as directed on the packaging.

*For a spiked punch, substitute 2 cups of rum for the Gingerale


Made from apple cider, orange juice, sugar, and mulling spices, Wassail has been the English way of toasting to your health since the twelfth century. The word itself is an old Norse word meaning “to health.” By the fourteenth century, the term wassail referred to the hot beverage drunk at Christmastime we know today and was often associated with caroling. There are numerous recipes, both traditional and modern, that one can find online. Though many non-alcoholic versions of wassail exist, the traditional wassail started with hard cider. Some modern recipes will add rum or some other spirit. Mulled wine is another favorite holiday drink that uses most of the same spices. For a more detailed history of the Wassail from a British point of view click here. To make a traditional recipe from the same website, click here.