Ah, the royal wedding! I am unashamedly a royalist. The pomp and circumstance of people whose lives are a world away from my own boring middle-class life is strangely fascinating for me. Not only that, but with so many awful things that we are bombarded with daily by the media, to celebrate the romance of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is a refreshing break.
Also, I love a good afternoon tea spread.
To celebrate the royal wedding yesterday—and to tide us over at the crack of dawn when we started watching the broadcast—I made an array of British-inspired snacks and breakfast treats. In fact, I took the Friday off from work to prepare my spread, which was a good idea because I ended up baking fairly late that day. Most of the items were baked in advance, but the scones and sausage rolls were cooked fresh at 5:30am (ET) on Saturday. To simplify matters, I used pre-made tart shells for the mini quiches, and purchased sausage rolls to be cooked from frozen. It was a tasty spread, served with cups of strong Rwandan tea as we watched the festivities unfold!
Mini scones, waiting to be baked!
On my modest menu was:
Cheddar, Ham and Chive Mini Quiches
Cranberry and Lemon Mini Scones
Finger Sandwiches (Cucumber and Watercress; Ham and Havarti Cheese; Coronation Chicken)
Lemon Bars and Raspberry Brownies (purchased from a local bakery)
Lemon and Elderflower Cupcakes
Mini quiches were a nice breakfast-like addition to our spread.
For the quiches:
12 mini tart shells (in foil cups)
3/4 cup shredded mature cheddar
3 slices sandwich ham, chopped into small pieces
Bunch of chives, chopped
3 large eggs
3 tbsp cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place tart shells on rimmed baking sheet. Divide ham, chives and cheese among shells.
3. In bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt and pepper; pour into tart shells.
4. Bake until pastry is golden and filling is just set, about 20 minutes. If you wish for slightly more golden quiches, turn oven up to 365F and cook an additional 3 minutes.
5. Serve warm. (Make-ahead: Let cool. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days; reheat in 375°F oven for about 5 minutes.)
For the Lemon and Elderflower Mini Cupcakes, I adapted this Meghan and Harry recipe from the Toronto Star. Although the flavours were spot-on, the cupcakes were very crumbly and the recipe would work best as a layer cake.
Mini Lemon Cupcakes
Makes 24+ mini cupcakes
Cooking spray or butter, for greasing pans
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
7/8 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 1/2 lemons
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). If using muffin papers, line mini muffin tins with medium-size muffin papers. If not, grease mini muffin tins.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Measure out milk in liquid measuring cup.
3. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Continue to mix until combined.
4. Turn mixer to low speed. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk a third at a time. Mix until batter becomes thick and smooth, careful not to over mix.
5. Divide batter among muffin tins, no more than 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cupcake tops begin to develop a golden colour and a toothpick inserted in cake centres comes out clean.
7. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Use an offset spatula to gently loosen cupcakes from the pans, if needed.
We iced the cupcakes with our favourite buttercream icing that we spiked with St. Germain, an elderflower liquor. The combination of the lemon and elderflower flavours was a delicate, very spring-like and utterly British mixture that I thoroughly enjoyed and will certainly make again!
Coronation Chicken Finger Sandwiches
Coronation chicken is a delicious chicken salad sandwich filling, supposedly invented in 1953 for the Queen’s coronation. The use of curry powder hints at Britain’s colonial past, but also is just a delicious sweet-savoury combination of dried fruit, spices, and chicken. There are countless variations—some using crème fraiche or yogurt, some with slivered almonds, others incorporating mango chutney or raisins. I kept my version super simple, because I was prepping the sandwiches at 5am. These are best eaten fresh.
Makes 9 finger sandwiches
1 cup roast chicken breast, diced
1/3 cup dried Turkish apricots, diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 tsp curry power
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley or cilantro, if desired
6 slices thin sandwich bread
1. Mix chicken salad ingredients together in bowl, adding more mayonnaise to salad to desired thickness.
2. Spread thin layer of softened butter on bread slices. Divide coronation chicken mixture between three slices of bread. For cleaner cutting, leave a 3mm edge around all 4 sides of sandwich bread free from mixture.
3. Top sandwiches, and slice off crusts from the 4 sides of the sandwiches. Slice each sandwich into 3 even “fingers,” for 9 total finger sandwiches. Serve immediately.