What’s special for you that defines “home for the holidays”? Maybe it’s a sparkling seasonal beverage, or traditional family recipe, or festive décor that you use every year.
My mom bakes her famous (to us) Almond Puff for all special occasions, and it makes me think of my family and home. It’s the perfect combination of buttery pastry and lightly sweet almond icing. I can’t get enough, and it’s the element of home I’m making for my Christmas tea party.
Decorate for Your Christmas Tea Party
I love to go thrifting this time of year, just before the holidays. Shop owners do a fantastic job of arranging their seasonal décor in a smorgasbord of visual delight. You’ll be able to find Christmas-y tablecloths, green and red napkins, delicate glassware, shiny brass candlesticks, and more -- very often like new and at very reasonable prices. Bonus: Your local thrift store probably supports a charitable cause, so you can feel good about spending a few bucks.
A Delicious Christmas High Tea Menu
Stir up those feelings of home with a holiday menu and a seasonally spiced tea, like Plum Deluxe’s Apple Cinnamon Warmth Black Tea. With hints of spice, fresh apple, and cinnamon, it’s a comforting black tea that feels like a hug when you need one.
For a casual get-together, try a sharable, no-fuss charcuterie plate that’s easy to prep and makes a lasting impression on guests. Gather some of your favorite mix-and-match finger foods, a crusty baguette or crackers, and some sweet jams. Arrange them decoratively on a cutting board for simplified elegance.
If you prefer a traditional three-course Christmas high tea menu, start with a selection of tea sandwiches arranged on the bottom level of a multi-tier server. Try these Apple Butter Ham and Cheese sandwiches for the perfect blend of salty and sweet.
Add scones to the middle of your tiered server. Cinnamon Chip Scone Sticks are a new twist on scones that will please your guests plenty. They can be served with milk, tea, or hot chocolate for dunking!
The top tier of your server will be sweets. I love to serve holiday chocolates, beautiful little molded creations of sugar and cocoa. There are so many options for your top tier, though, from tarts to custard, or simply fresh fruit. Festive and fun, these Brazilian brigadeiros are sure to light up any holiday party table.
You can check out this article for additional ideas on a Christmas high tea menu, including a delicious take on tea sandwiches and more.
Have Some Fun
Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” We can all use more of that around the holidays! If you’re hosting this tea for a group, introduce a fun game, such as Tea Mad Libs. Download and print a set of Mad Lib games from the web and revel in some laughter as you create a unique tea story.
If you’re treating yourself to a solo tea, take a minute to write down a few things for which you’re grateful. We had a devastating late fire season in California and lost electricity multiple times. It reminded me to be grateful for basic needs such as running water, electricity, and heat. The holidays are a good time to remember that we are blessed in so many ways.
Almond Puff Recipe
There are three parts to this recipe: the pastry crust, the egg-y pastry topping, and the icing. This recipe yields two medium pastries.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut up the butter and flour. Add the water and mix.
Divide and spread the mixture thinly in two oblong strips (about 3 inches x 12 inches each) on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Now, prepare the pastry topping.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup flour
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
In a medium saucepan, bring butter and water to boil. Remove from the burner and quickly stir in flour and almond extract.
Return to the burner and stir over low heat until it forms a ball.
Turn heat off, remove from burner, add eggs and mix until smooth.
Divide in half and spread thickly onto pastry strips.
Bake the pastry for 50 minutes. Don’t over bake (bottom crust may slightly brown on edges).
Remove from oven and let cool.
Prepare the icing.
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1-1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
- 1 – 2 tablespoons warm water (more if needed)
Mix ingredients until smooth.
Divide and drizzle over cooled pastry strips.
Optional: Add toppings such as chopped nuts, if desired.
Whether you’re enjoying a Christmas tea party with family, friends, or keeping yourself company this season, remember, home is where the heart is -- and with a cuppa delicious tea. May you be well, and know you’re loved.