Afternoon tea is the most sophisticated and ladylike of eating experiences and life doesn't get much better than when you're sitting down to a good pot of tea, lots of cake, and tiny little sandwiches. A good tea shouldn't be classed as a meal, but rather an elegant and frivolous way to spend an afternoon.
Fortnum & Mason in London is an old glamorous afternoon tea institution, so much so, that they've published a lovely little recipe book detailing the stores history and the history of the tea trade itself. We've hand-selected our favourite recipes so that you can recreate some of the delicious frivolousness yourself.
Honey, sultana and pecan tea bread| Madeleines | Chocolate torte
This is a moist and crumbly tea bread enriched with honey, mixed spice and the aromatic flavours of Earl Grey, one of Fortnum's finest teas. This cake will become firmer with time and stores well for up to five days in an airtight container.
200ml freshly brewed
Fortnum & Mason Earl
Grey Classic Tea
75g softened butter, plus
extra to grease
125g light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp set honey
2 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour, sifted
1 level tsp mixed spice
75g pecans, chopped
Put the sultanas in a bowl with the tea and leave to soak overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
Whisk together the butter, sugar and honey.
Gradually add the eggs, then fold in the flour,mixed spice, pecans and soaked sultanas with anyextra tea. Bake in the oven for 1 hour until a skewerinserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin, then slice and serve.
Tea at Fortnum & Mason is published by Ebury Press, £10