Monday, December 14, 2009

Bebe Eclair Tea

There are fewer things that bring a sense of hope as the immanent arrival of a new baby. My friend Hil, who baked with me a few months ago and whom I also work with, will be a new Mom in late January or early February. One of the pleasures of being a friend is being able to host a baby shower. Since Hil loves all things French, we decided the theme should reflect that. Although this little one has already been dubbed baby Jal, for the shower he or she was bebe eclair...small and sweet.

Although it is the Christmas season, for the tea is was more like a rainy day in April in Paris. We had a toile tablecloth, fine china teapots and teacups, crystal servers and the napkin holder place cards each had a sweet pea (fabric) attached.

Since I knew in advance that this would be a tea, I was able to make fresh lemon curd ahead of time for the home made scones. There was also some purchased raspberry jam and freshly whipped heavy cream to adorn the scones. The scones themselves, also made in advance, were frozen until the shower and then re-heated.

The French theme was helped by a dish of pistachio macarons with ganache filling.

The cranberry bread I made after Thanksgiving was also frozen and, once thawed, cut into thin slices. A creamy orange cream cheese filling and a few flicks of a sharp knife turned them into tea finger sandwiches. Tiny cupcakes sat on a cake stand and were adorned with white frosting and either little white chocolate stars of crushed peppermints.

Purchased brownie bites and mini quiches rounded out the teatime array of goodies. Nine of us consumed at least 5 pots of tea!

Hil started off the party with lovely Kir Royal cocktails which helped brighten the mood. Some Parisian music on the stereo, a poster of the Tour Eiffel and we were transported to France (with a hint of England) for the afternoon. I think that everyone had a good time and I know that everyone involved made Hil feel very special...which she is!

Here is the recipe for the scones. The lemon curd, macarons (substitute ground pistachios for half the almond meal, and cranberry bread can be found using the Index at the upper right hand corner of the blog.

Simple Scones

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease two cookie sheets.

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (no substitutions)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Glaze: 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar (I used white sanding sugar)

In a small bowl use your fingers to rub together the sugar and lemon peel until fragrant.
Combine flour, lemon-sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour buttermilk over crumb mixture. Stir together with fork just until mixture comes together. Gather dough gently into a ball; knead 4 or 5 times. Cut dough in half and transfer pieces to prepared cookie sheets. Shape each piece into two 6 inch x 1/4 inch thick circles, 2 inches apart. Using floured knife, cut each circle into 8 wedges.

For glaze, brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 16 scones.

If you are going to freeze these to re-heat later, bake them just short of golden brown and re-heat, thawed, for 5 minutes at 425 degrees F.


  1. Ohhhh, that teacup!!!!!
    What a gorgeous theme (and a gorgeous new Mommy) and what lovely cookies!! I just was digging in a friend's cabinets and found some of the oooold, old, old, old silver balls for cookies THAT CONTAINED ACTUAL SILVER. Boy, cookies were potentially deadly in those days!

    'tis the season for all this loveliness.

  2. Fun idea and the new mother to be really shines! Lovely party, gorgeous teacup!

  3. You can't beat a good tea party. It sounds wonderful and full of yummy food

  4. I'm glad you have had a wonderful time with friends, delicious food and more food.
    And the little baby to arrive soon.

  5. Tanita, I used to bake with those little silver balls...none the worse for wear since so few are ever consumer...mostly we took them off and didn't eat them.
    Hope you are enjoying a break...and would love to meet if possible.

    Baking Soda, the new mom is a beauty!

    Katie, it really was fun!

    Ana, the new baby will be even better than the party!

  6. What a delightful spread and what a wonderful friend you are for throwing a tea party. I only have one complaint - why wasnt I invited??!! LOL!!!