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[Updated 3 November 2020]
English tea is a much-loved meal, and not just in the UK! You've probably enjoyed a full-scale English high tea before, consisting of tea and finger foods such as scones, sandwiches, pastries and more. While people usually go out to hotels or cafes to enjoy an English high tea, the truth is, it's completely doable to have an amazing halal high tea at home! And to prove it, we're sharing 7 simple recipes you can make to have your own fantastic teatime.
You can't have an English high tea without scones! Serve with clotted cream and jam, they're an iconic food that you absolutely can't skip. And they're actually one of the quickest and easiest bakes to whip up. Use our easy scone recipe and make these beauties!
2. Finger sandwiches
Besides scones, another staple of an English tea has to be finger sandwiches. These small sandwiches (often cut into rectangles or triangles) traditionally are made with fillings like cucumbers, smoked salmon, egg salad and more - check out this recipe article by Preppy Kitchen that explains how to make them! Though in this day and age there's nothing to stop you to using whatever fillings you desire. The trick into getting the high-tea style presentation is simply to trim the crusts, then half the sandwich into thirds (to form 3 rectangles) or slice diagonally either way (to get 4 triangles).
3. Cream puffs
What makes a high tea spread is variety, and there's always a selection of beautiful little cakes and pastries like macarons and frangipani tarts. And while those might be quite complicated to make, one pastry that you can whip up at home are cream puffs! Made of choux pastry and filled with cream or custard, they're the perfect addition to your tea time.
Watch this video by Natasha's Kitchen to see how her cream puffs are done - she even shows different ways you can fill your puffs depending on you want them to look!
4. Mini cheesecakes
Not in the mood to pipe out choux pastry for the cream puffs? Then why not go for another mini dessert that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser: mini cheesecakes!
Check out this super famous recipe from El Mundo Eats! While there many recipes for mini cheesecakes out there, theirs is baked in muffin pan (which you probably already have at home!) and has all the elements of a classic baked cheese but in miniature form! And best of all you won't even need a water bath to bake them, and these need to be chilled overnight so you can make them ahead of time! You can also decorate the mini cheesecakes with fresh fruit or jam on top to make them prettier.
5. Thumbprint cookies
It's second nature to have some biscuits along with tea, and while there's an endless variety available out there, one that's easy and delicious are thumbprint biscuits! Thumbprint cookies get their name from the indentation made in the middle of shortbread-style cookies that gets filled with jam, but you could also use lemon curd or marmalade for an added English touch ?
Follow Chef John from Food Wishes' easy recipe and you'll have a batch of pretty thumprint cookies in no time.
6. Mini sausage rolls
A high tea spread should ideally have a mix of sweet and savoury, and for another savoury component besides the sandwiches, we recommend easy mini sausage rolls! All you need is ready-made puff pastry and your favourite sausages, and you're ready to roll and get these easy treats out to complete your spread. Follow this BBC Food recipe that shows you how straightforward it is. Not into sausages? Use the puff pastry to create mini sardine or tuna puffs instead!
Last but not least, you can have and English high tea without tea! Whatever your favourite tea (be it Earl Grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, or any other variety!), brew up a large pot of it, making sure to have hot water on hand during your meal so you can brew up more as you sip cup after cup. Extra points if you have dainty chinaware to serve it in, but not necessary. Don't forget any condiments you'll need for your perfect cuppa, like milk, cream and sugar.
Having your own English-style tea is not that difficult at all, and you can make it as laid-back (with just scones and some tea) or as elaborate as you like! We hope this selection of recipes gives you a base to start off with, but feel free to get creative and swap in things you'd like to see in your spread too!