Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday Brunch

It was my turn to have the ladies over for VT this month. I didn't read the message/thought until the morning of, but you can bet I had a menu planned way in advance! This isn't my usual tea party group of friends, so I got to introduce formal tea to a new group! I'll admit it, I usually go overboard with the food for tea parties, so I pulled back this time and decided to go with biscotti and blood orange verrines. I've never made either of those before, and that's not a good when you're planning on immediately serving something, but fortunately both worked out great.
A word about verrines: The lovely Tartlette and Cannelle et Vanille both ocassionally have posts about this kind of dish. I had to google it, though, to figure out what in the world they were talking about. Serious Eats tells us, "A verrine is an appetizer or dessert that consists of a number of components layered artfully in a small glass. (The word verrine refers to the glass itself; literally it means "protective glass.")" So really it's just a small parfait. Leave it to the French to give the exact same idea a different name because the size is different. In any case, I had a hankering for orange, and blood orange seems to be the fruit du jour, so I did a blood orange jelly with yogurt, nectarine and crumble. I didn't want the biscotti to distract from the tea, just to enhance it. So I did a basic version of Giada's popular biscotti with a bit of cinnamon. And we had a lovely time!


Blood Orange Jelly
adapted from
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 1/2 cups orange juice

Soften the gelatine in the cold water. Dissolve it in the boiling water. Add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add lemon juice, orange rind, and orange juice, cook for 3 more minutes. Pour the jelly into mold. Chill until it is firm. Clever idea from Tartlette: Divide evenly among glasses and position them at an angle in an empty egg carton. Let set a couple of hours in the fridge.

Yogurt Layer

2 c vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 c heavy cream

Beat the cream to stiff peaks. Fold into the yogurt. Spoon onto the firm jelly.


1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c oats
3 T flour
2 T cold butter

Mix the brown sugar, oats and flour. Cut the butter into small cubes. Work the butter into the oat mixture with your hands until it is course crumbs. Bake at 350 F until just browned. (If it starts melting, pull it out, it will still be ok!) Let it cool, then break up and sprinkle on the top of the verrines.

adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 T cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour and baking powder and beat just until blended. Stir in the almonds.
Form the dough into a 4-inch wide 1-inch tall log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.


Lena said...

What a beautiful table you set! I always think of you when I see tea cups. I have never had a blood orange, do they taste much different then regualr oranges?

Candice said...

Wow, I knew you loved to bake, but - wow! I love the stories mixed in with the recipes and pictures, very well done!!

Tara said...

Wait wait wait. You made the jelly here too! Lol. I just made mine p for the tuiles, but what can I say? Great minds think alike!