Recipes for a High Tea Baby Shower

High tea is one of my favorite party themes, especially for baby showers. It's a short afternoon party where everyone can dress up a little, you don't eat too much and you can use all of that fancy china that's been collecting dust! I tend to splurge when I throw a party, so I've learned to limit commercial spending to invitations and shower party favors, the rest I can do myself (or with a little help from my friends). A successful tea party doesn't require too many food items, just a little variety. Something hearty, something savory and something sweet!

A Word on Tea

A bit of research online will show you that the teatime ritual can get very formal. Teatime, at least at upscale tea parties, came from the social customs of the British upper class. In the days before telephones and Facebook, people had to spread their news (well, gossip) in person. A whole class of people had nothing to do all day besides visiting each other, change outfits frequently, attends social events and maybe do some (not too vulgar) charity work. As such, the tea ritual was a way to show off one's status. Don't take all of the conventions too seriously, enjoy the spirit of the party and don't worry yourself if you don't have all of the "necessary" accessories. 

Sure, loose leaf tea often tastes better and is traditional. But your guests might be more confused and put off by tea leaves floating in their drink than impressed that you're recreating a teatime with such attention to historical detail. Do what will make you and your guests comfortable. In the end, it's all about having a great time.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread can be made with caraway seeds, raisins or other additives. I prefer to go additive-free and offer toppings like butter, jams, Nutella or apple butter. Traditional recipes are pretty much all the same, this one in particular can be found at the Runaway Spoon.

The finished bread should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Finished bread doesn't keep well beyond a day or so. Make the day of and serve warm or toasted.

Cream Cheese Danish

My guilty pleasure at any coffee shop is a cream cheese danish, that's why I love making these and serving them at teatime! When I serve something like this at a party I like to make miniature versions. When I'm feeling fancy, I'll call them amuse-bouches, though that's technically incorrect. For serious foodies, an amuse-bouche is a little bite before the main course. Think of it like the samples you get at a grocery store but at a five-star restaurant. For me, it's a way to make finer foods sound more fun at a fun and fancy affair (like, well, teatime).

This recipe is from the Pillsbury bake-off and has a jam topping added. You can find it here.

Filled Strawberries

These are beautiful to look at and delicious! Essentially, you cut the tops of the strawberries off, slice an "x" in them from the base up to make room for the filling and fill them with a cream cheese-based filling. These are from Food Network's Paula Deen and they are heavenly! Recipe (and video) are here.

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