A Honey of a Tea Party: Apples & Honey

A Honey of a Tea Party: Apples & Honey
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harvestNothing welcomes autumn like apples and honey. Delight your guests with the scent and flavor of apple butter, an herbal honey tasting, and all the breads, cakes, cookies and tarts you can make with these wonderful ingredients.

All of the recipes are here in the recipe index under the listed category. Please sign my guest book and let me know how you enjoyed this menu.

The Setting:

  • A bowl of beautiful fall apples on every table
  • A honey tasting, with apple slices for dipping
  • A game of "hide and seek" the honey bear for the little ones
  • A chance to enjoy the sweetness in life with good friends

Apple Butter and Tartlets

Apple butter is a real treat for the Fall. It takes a little time to make, but it is so worthwhile! Not only can you serve it for tea and breakfast, but you will have extra for gifts or for making Apple Butter Tartlets. This recipe takes about 2 hours from start to finish, which is much shorter than the cooking time called for in most apple butter recipes. I think you'll be very happy with the delicious result.

List of Ingredients

3 and 1/2 pounds apples, mixed sweet and tart apples
2 cups apple juice
2 and 1/2 to 3 cups dark brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 half pint canning jars, lids, and a water processor, if preserving.

Instructions

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Place them in a large Dutch oven with the apple juice. Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples are soft and can be pierced with a fork. Since you are using a mixture of apples, some may cook faster than others, so you may need to remove them to keep them from disintegrating into the juice.

Remove the apples with a slotted spoon and discard the juice. Process the apples in two batches in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, until the apples are thick and smooth.

tartletBefore returning the apple puree to the pan, measure it into a liquid cup measure. For each cup of puree, add 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar to the pan. You should have 5 to 6 cups of apple puree.

Add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg* to the pan, along with the lemon zest and juice. Be sure the zest is very finely grated.

Cook over the lowest heat setting for about 45 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent sticking. The heat is too high if the butter is bubbling.

The butter is ready when it looks dark and is thick enough to mound up on a spoon.

Pour the butter into clean, hot jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Refrigerate after opening or if not canning.

*Quality ingredients can make a big difference in this recipe. If you can use a whole vanilla bean sliced in half and grate a whole nutmeg, the flavor will be more intense.

Apple Tartlets

Apple Butter makes a wonderful tart filling, and one your guests will surely enjoy.

List of Ingredients

1/2 pint of Apple butter
2 sweet apples, such as Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
Pastry dough for 4 tartlet pans (or 1 nine inch tart pan)
cinnamon sugar

Instructions

Roll out the tart dough and line 4 tartlet pans. Chill for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the pans with an unbleached basket- style coffee filter (or parchment paper) and fill the filter with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tartlet pans on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the liner and check for doneness on the bottom (lightly browned).

Cool the tart shells. Fill with apple butter and top with the apple slices in a decorative fan. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon sugar. (If you have vanilla cinnamon sugar, it will be very nice!)

Bake in a 350 degree oven 10 minutes, until just warmed through.

Apple Herb Honey

Have some fun making several different kinds of honey and have a "honey tasting". For an Apple and Honey Tea, try Apple Scented Geraniums, pine"Apple" Sage, and Apple Mint. They will all make delicious honey. My family liked the Pineapple Sage quite a bit. Be sure to serve the honey with Applesauce Bread and Anise & Honey Biscuits. The honey will keep indefinitely.

List of Ingredients

2 pounds of a light colored honey, divided into two small saucepans
1/4 cup packed whole herb leaves each of two herbs, such as Pineapple
Sage, Apple Mint or Apple Geranium
4 half-pint canning jars and lids

Instructions

Divide the honey into two pans, if two kinds of honey are desired. Add 1/4 cup whole herb leaves to each of the pans.

On a low heat, gently warm the honey for 10 minutes. Swirl to submerge the herbs.

Turn off the heat and let the honey sit for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Strain out the herbs, pour into clean canning jars and seal.

Apple Sugar Cubes

If you are lucky enough to have Apple Scented Geraniums or Apple Mint in your garden, you can enjoy this wonderful smelling sugar, and delight your guests with "scented" floral sugar cubes. These will keep for months, and can be made at your leisure. The candy mold sheets for the sugar cubes are found at better cooking supply stores.

List of Ingredients

1 cup sugar
5 - 6 unblemished whole leaves of Apple Mint or Apple Scented Geranium
A container with a tight fitting lid
1 candy mold sheet with small flowers

To infuse the sugar with the herb, layer the sugar and the herb leaves in a jar with a tight lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Sift out the herb leaves. The sugar will be sticky. Store or make into sugar cubes.

SUGAR CUBES: Press the infused sugar into the molds, filling to the top. Let air dry uncovered for a few days, until the cubes can be removed without breaking.

(The cubes can be tinted before putting the sugar in the molds by adding a drop of liquid food coloring to 1/4 cup of water, and adding a FEW drops of water to the sugar. Stir to distribute the color. Be careful not to get the sugar too wet.)

Anise & Honey Biscuits

These delightful, sweet biscuits were a big hit with my entire family. They were heavenly hot from the oven, drizzled with honey, but they also kept well and were good the next morning for breakfast and at lunch with a little cheese. I used anise seed from www.Penzeys.com, and it had a terrific flavor. The seeds soften during the baking process, and it smells like Springerle cookies when the biscuits are baking (but these are much faster to make!)

List of Ingredients

2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. (kosher) salt
6 TBSP. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 tsp. anise seed
3/4 cup (whole) milk
3 TBSP. wildflower or herb honey

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon-baking mat.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two knives. Stir in the anise seed. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk and honey. Stir to form a soft ball. Knead a few times on a floured board. Pat dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 1 1/2 inch x 2-inch squares with a knife. Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 425 degrees, until golden brown.

Make about 20 biscuits.

Applesauce Bread

This delicious bread can be quickly made in a food processor. It is moist and wonderful for tea, breakfast or dessert. Be sure to try it with some herbal honey or apple butter. If you can use a flavored applesauce, such as raspberry or cranberry, it will be extra special. This bread tastes even better the next day.

List of Ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
1 and 1/2 cups applesauce
1 large egg

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.

Put flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine.

Add the applesauce and egg. Process a few seconds to combine. Remove the blade and stir in the pecans. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Honey Cake

This big, beautiful, rich cake will win over even the most stubborn honey cake hater. It is an adaptation of the Chocolate Honey Cake in Marcy Goldman's wonderful book, "Jewish Holiday Baking". Marcy also has a terrific recipe site at www.betterbaking.com.

CAKE:

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process)
2 and 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 TBSP. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup fresh brewed coffee, cooled (vanilla flavored coffee beans are very good)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped regular chips)

TOPPING:

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

In a mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, brown sugar, honey and vanilla. Beat in the eggs until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. On low speed, add to the honey mixture alternating with the cooled coffee. Blend to make a smooth batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. REDUCE oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake another 50 - 60 minutes.

Remove and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake. Let sit a minute, then spread the softened chocolate over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Place the cake in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Once set, invert the cake and remove it from the pan. Peel off the parchment and set on a serving platter.

The cake will keep for several days if kept well covered.

Grandma's Apple Cake

This is my Grandma Nettie's recipe. It has a shortbread topping that makes it a little different from the "usual" apple cake, and it has always been a family favorite. Grandma would insist, however, that the apples be perfectly sliced and arranged!

List of Ingredients

2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 TBSP. baking powder
2 large eggs
1 and 1/3 sticks butter
A few drops of water
1 and 1/2 pounds of Jonathan apples
Cinnamon sugar

TOPPING:

3/4 cup flour
2/3 stick unsalted butter
6 TBSP. sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and eggs. Add the flour and baking powder on low speed to combine. Add a few drops of water if the dough is too dry to hold together when pinched with your fingers. Pat the dough into the prepared baking pan and set aside.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Place them on top of the dough in an even layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

For the topping, combine the flour and sugar. Cut the butter in until crumbly and making pea sized pieces of dough. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.

Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees. Cool in pan.

Honey Banana Tea Sandwiches

Honey and bananas - perfect for the "little one" in all of us. These are simple and tasty, and they will disappear in no time at all. Use 2 inch round or square cookie cutters to cut the bread for a delightful presentation.

List of Ingredients

2/3 cup honey
1 loaf sturdy brown bread
3 bananas, ripe and firm, 1/2 inch sliced

Instructions

Cut the bread into decorative shapes with a knife or cookie cutter. If the bread is very crumbly, heat the honey just slightly to make it easier to spread. Spread both the top and bottom slices with honey and fill with the bananas.

Lavender Honey Biscotti

Lavender, honey and pine nuts combine to make elegant biscotti that will please everyone. And it's simple to make. I have used organic dried English lavender flower buds (unopened flowers). If you use another type of lavender or fresh lavender, you may get a stronger or weaker lavender flavor.

List of Ingredients

2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. dried lavender buds
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lavender. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir the liquids into the flour mixture with a fork. Stir in the toasted pine nuts. Stir gently to form a soft dough. Knead lightly a few times by hand to form a ball.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a log on the baking sheet, about 8 inches long, 2 and 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Leave the oven on, and remove the biscotti. Cool a few minutes and remove to a cutting board. Trim off the ends, and slice each log into 10 pieces, about 3/4 inch wide. Lay the biscotti on their sides, and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. Cool.

This makes softer biscotti. If you like very dry biscotti, extend the time for the second bake.

Copyright 2000 and 2001 by Renee Van Hoy, All Rights Reserved.

Harvest Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

About The Author

Renee is the owner and author of a Renee's Tea Party, a website full of wonderful recipes and tea party menus. She is also a wife and mom, as well as a gracious hostess. (updated 2009 - website no longer available)
 
 

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