Monday, December 31, 2007

Holiday Tea Time

Although the Nord Kitchen is mostly dominated by those of Swedish decent, occasionally some fractional heritages peek through and we bow to other traditions. One favorite tradition from our English-early-American descendants is the serving of tea. Tea time can be an elaborate occasion in The Nord Kitchen ranging from a simple afternoon tea party to the elaborate High Tea affair. We are fortunate that we live in an area with a number of historical places which serve wonderful traditional afternoon teas, such as The Colonial Inn in Concord, MA. But our favorite tradition is to set our own table with a variety of teas, heavily laden with sweets and sandwiches then wait and see who decides to sit for a chat.

One of these impromptu teas occurred this past week when I was again experimenting with Mesquite flour. In previous blogs I have mentioned using this unique flour with chocolate chip cookies. The distinctive mocha flavor makes for a very rich cookie when combined with chocolate chips, so I was delighted when Casa de Fruta contacted me with some new recipes to try. Just like early explorers in search of spices, I found some new flavor combinations to add to the tea table.

Mesquite Meringue Cookies

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mesquite flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Mix the sugar and mesquite flour together, set aside. In a chilled bowl, begin beating egg whites with electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar and flour mix. Add the salt and lemon juice. Continue beating until batter is stiff and firm and does not slip from bowl when inverted. Be patient. Once desired consistency is reached, immediately, drop mixture by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a very low temperature oven (210 - 225 degrees F) for about an hour. Be careful not to let cookies brown.

Mesquite Lemon Bars
For pastry dough:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup mesquite flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

For lemon topping:
1 jar (10 oz.) Lemon Curd
2 tablespoons mesquite flour

Mix first 8 ingredients together to form a soft dough. Spread dough in a cookie sheet which has already been greased and floured. Make sure dough is evenly spread.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix lemon curd and flour together until smooth.

Remove pan from oven and spread over the partially baked dough the lemon topping. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes or until edges are nicely brown. Cut into squares.


T.W. Barritt said...

Diane, I am quite a follower of afternoon tea - for many years (20 in fact), I hosted a Christmas Tea during the holiday season. I would love to have tea in Concord, MA some day. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Lydia said...

Mesquite flour is new to me; I'll definitely have to try it. Happy New Year, Diane.

michelle said...

I have mesquite flour on order right now! I first saw it used by Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks in her chocolate chip cookies and I've been dying to try it since. Finally took the plunge as sort of a Christmas present to myself. :)

I'll definitely be trying these, too!