Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Cup of Christmas Tea

Won't you join me for a cup of Christmas tea?

Tea Time Menu:

Cranberry-Apricot Scones served with Strawberry Preserves and Almond Cream

Ham and Turkey Spirals, PB&J Presents, and Roast Beef and Swiss on Yeast Rolls

Fresh Pineapple

Heart-Shaped Brownies

Sweet Torta with Butter Cookies

English Breakfast Tea

Sweet Torta

I discovered this princess of an appetizer when I travelled to Columbus, Ohio, for a ladies day. It has since become a staple on our holiday menu. I doubled the recipe below to make the small torta pictured, plus two larger ones for family gatherings this Christmas.

1 pound cream cheese, softened
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
Fresh fruit (I used kiwi and raspberries with raspberry jam)
Cheesecloth (available in the craft section at Wal-Mart)
Sweet dessert crackers

Blend cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Select a mold. (I used a scalloped cake pan in the photo and used a jello mold and a shaped bowl for the other two tortas I made this holiday. You could use a canister, flower pot, etc.) Cut a piece of cheesecloth larger than the container. Moisten two layers of the cheesecloth with a little water, then push them into the container to form a layer. Leave excess cloth draped over the edge of the container. Place a layer of cream cheese mixture into the pot, pushing it down into the container. The layer should measure about 1/2 inch. Add a layer of fruit, spreading fruit to the edge of the container. Alternate layers of cheese mixture and fruit, gently pushing down on the mixture as you layer to eliminate gaps. Finish with a layer of cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. This may be made two days ahead. To unmold, invert on plate and pull pot off mold, then peel off cheesecloth. Garnish with additional fruit, and serve with sweet crackers.

Our little friends Emma and Lizzy joined our tea table today, but their mom was keeping vigil at the hospital with a sick relative. We missed her and hope this basket of treats brought comfort on a most difficult day.

Thank you for stopping in for a cup of tea today! I hope your cup runs over with blessings this Christmas!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin