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An Autumn Tea
by Jeanette Simpson

November 19, 2000
At the home Of Elna Gambill And Jeanette Simpson

I printed the pages front and back and used autumn leaf printed paper for the cover sheet, punched two holes at the top, threaded ribbon through and tied it in a bow to hold the booklet together.  Each guest took home a booklet of recipes and a small loaf of fancy bread wrapped in plastic wrap and tied up with orange ribbon to which was attached an autumn leaf.  These were in a basket by the front door so they could take one as they left.  Some took 2 or 3!  This tea had an autumn theme.  I have done Valentine's teas and also a Scottish tea.

An Autumn Tea

"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea?
– how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea."
Sir Walter Scott

Esther’s Orange Marmalade Layer Cake
Jeanette Simpson

If you have read the Mitford series of books by author Jan Karon, you are familiar with Esther Bolick’s famous marmalade cake. She made it for every bake sale, fellowship dinner, and special occasion. You will fondly remember the scene of the ladies trying to get the recipe from Esther when she was in the hospital with her jaw wired shut! This recipe appeared in the July 1998 issue of Victoria magazine. It is WONDERFUL!

3 c. cake flour
1 T. grated orange zest
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. freshly squeezed orange
2 c. granulated sugar juice
3 lg. eggs, at room temperature, beaten slightly
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 c. orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper or wax paper, and butter and flour the paper, shaking out the excess. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl with the electric mixer, beat the butter until combined, add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with ½ of the buttermilk until combined well. Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk and beat until combined well. Finally, beat in the remaining dry ingredients until mixture is smooth. Evenly divide the batter between the pans, smoothing the surface, rap each pan on the counter to expel any air pockets or bubbles, then transfer to oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to racks to cool in the pans for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the orange syrup. In a bowl, stir together the orange juice and ¼ cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved. With a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes at ½-inch intervals in the cake layers and spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remaining. Let layers cool completely. In a small saucpan set over moderate heat, heat the marmalade until just melted. Let cool 5 minutes. Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate, carefully peel off the wax paper, then spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the remaining layer onto the top of the first layer, peel off the wax paper and spoon the remaining marmalade into the center of it, leaving a 1 and spoon the remaining marmalade into the center of it, leaving a 1¼-inch border around the edge. Frost the sides and top of the border with the frosting, leaving the marmalade on top of the cake exposed. Or, if you prefer, frost the entire cake, adding the marmalade as a garnish atop. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Yield: 10-12 servings.


¾ c. well-chilled heavy cream
¾ c. well-chilled sour cream
3 T. sugar

In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks. Add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until of spreading consistency.

"The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Blackberry Jam Cake
Jeanette Simpson

This is an English specialty. It is delicious also with strawberry or raspberry jam. It can be made several days ahead of time as it improves with aging.

1 c. butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. blackberry jam
1 tsp. ground allspice
3 1/4 c. sifted flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/3 c. chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in jam. Sift together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter in greased and floured 9-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Tennessee Pumpkin Bread
Elna Gambill

1 2/3 c. sifted flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. shortening
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. canned mashed pumpkin
1/3 c. water
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In medium bowl, cream shortening, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Stir in pumpkin. Stir in dry ingredients in four additions alternately with water until just smooth. Do not over beat. Fold in nuts. Turn into greased loaf pan or teflon loaf pan without grease. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 45-55 minutes or until testor inserted comes out clean. Store in tightly covered tin or wrap and store in refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

Spiced Applesauce Bread
Kathy Gambill

1 1/4 c. applesauce
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 c. oil
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 T. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. nuts
1/2 c. raisins

Mix first 5 ingredients; sift together dry ingredients. Mix; fold in nuts and raisins. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in a 9X5X13 pan.

Cranberry-Sweet Potato Quick Bread
Elna Gambill

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 c. canned unsweetened mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 c. egg substitute
1/4 c. margarine, melted
1/2 c. orange juice
2 T. sliced almonds
1 c. chopped cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine sweet potato, egg substitute, orange juice, and margarine in a bowl; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moist. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into a 9 X 5-in. loaf pan coated with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle almonds over batter. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 16 slices.

Coconut Bread
Kathy Gambill

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. vanilla flavored sugar (1 c. sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla)
2 eggs
2 tsp. coconut flavoring
2 c. self-rising flour (or 2 c. flour and 3 tsp. baking powder)
1 c. sour cream
1 c. flaked sweetened coconut
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
5 T. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease one 8X4X2-in. loaf pan. Cream butter or margarine, vanilla, sugar and eggs. Add coconut flavoring and mix well. Mix in the flour and baking powder alternately with the sour cream to the creamed mixture. Stir in flaked coconut. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Pour glaze over hot loaf and serve. To make glaze, mix powdered sugar and milk together until smooth and creamy. To make vanilla flavored sugar, add one vanilla bean to sugar in a gallon sized jar. Let sit for one week before using. Add more sugar as needed.

"The choicest gift of Heaven is a friend
In whom we confidently may depend;
Who’ll ease the burden from the throbbing breast
And dull the troubled heart to tranquil rest.

May such a friend attend you on through life
And be your guide, and guard you free from strife,
And ever ready to give relief
To mingle joy with joy and grief with grief."

Flora W. Gower

Fruitcake Fantasy Brownies
Jeanette Simpson

1/2 c. margarine or butter
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/2 tsp. rum extract
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. diced mixed candied fruit
1 c. chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13X9-in. pan. In large saucepan, melt margarine and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add sweetened condensed milk and rum extract; blend well. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in candied fruit and nuts. Spread batter in greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-36 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.

Gingerbread Muffins
Grover Brinson

My friend Grover serves these for Christmas dinner and holiday entertaining. These are especially good, he says, with strawberry or blueberry butter. Grover is the editor of the Clan Carmichael USA newsletter.

1 c. unbleached white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. olive or sunflower oil
1 egg plus one egg white
1/4 c. light unsulphured molasses

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with margarine. Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, egg, egg white, and molasses. Add flours to butter mixture. Do not overmix. Pour into muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Yield: 12 muffins.

Nutmeg Glaze:

Stir together 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons rum or apple cider, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Mix until smooth. If necessary, add additional rum or apple cider to make a glaze of drizzling consistency.

"Happy the child that has for a friend an old, sympathetic,
encouraging mind, one eager to develop, slow to rebuke or

Arthur Brisbane

Date-Black Walnut Bars
Jeanette Simpson

Dad used to take us for a drive in the fall up through the covered bridge country in Indiana. We would go on a Sunday afternoon with apples and popcorn along for a snack. Dad picked up black walnuts along the way then took them home and put them in the driveway so the car would run over them several times. They were then easier to scoop out.

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. orange peel, finely shredded
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. flour
1 c. dates, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. black walnuts, chopped
Powdered sugar

Line a 9X9X2-in. pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set aside. Beat together eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add butter, orange peel, and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in dates and walnuts. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and set in the center. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Cut into 1 1/2-in. squares. Dust with powdered sugar. Cool completely. Store in tins with waxed paper between layers. Makes 36.

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lauren Barnhart

Lauren is my granddaughter and she baked the chocolate chip cookies for the tea, also the pumpkin face cookies.

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c. (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla extract in large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

"I accept life unconditionally. Life holds so much – so much to be so happy about always.
Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can be felt only if you don’t set conditions."

Arthur Rubenstein

Cream Scones and Devonshire Cream
Jeanette Simpson

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. cold butter, cut into pieces
1 c. whipping cream
2 T. whipping cream or egg white

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter with a pastry blender until the consistency is coarse and crumbly. Add 1 cup whipping cream, stirring just until moistened. Option: Add 1/2 c. currants, dried cherries, or dried cranberries and 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; knead 5-6 times. Roll until 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a round biscuit cutter and place each scone about 2 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining 2 tablespoons whipping cream or egg white. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 1 dozen. Serve scones with Devonshire cream and jam or lemon curd.

Devonshire Cream

1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 T. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3-1/2 c. whipping cream

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough whipping cream to form a mixture of spreadable consistency. Do not overbeat. Cover and chill 2-24 hours. Makes 1 cup.

Lemon Curd
Jeanette Simpson

3 lg. egg yolks
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 T. sugar
4 T. unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Combine yolks, zest, juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk. Set over medium heat, stir constantly with wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until it coats the back of the spoon, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with wooden spoon until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent skin from forming. Wrap tightly. Let cool then refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store in refrigerator in airtight container.

Ambrosia Spread

1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 oz.) carton soft cream cheese with pineapple
1/4 c. slivered almonds, chopped and toasted
1/4 c. flaked coconut, toasted

Set aside 3 orange segments for garnish. Chop remaining oranges; set aside. Combine cheese, cocont, and almonds in a medium bowl; stir until blended. Fold in chopped oranges. Arrange reserved orange segments on top. Cover and chill. Serve with date-nut bread, banana bread, or other fancy breads. Yield: 1 2/3 cups.

A Simply Spirited Spread
Jeanette Simpson

2 (3 oz.) cream cheese
1 tsp. rum flavoring or 2 tsp. rum
1/3 c. chopped, pitted dates
1 tsp. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Place the cream cheese, dates, nuts, rum and brown sugar in a container of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 45 seconds, or until almost smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Scrape spread into a small bowl. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. To serve, let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature to soften. Makes approximately 1 cup. You may add some honey and a pinch of cinnamon to give this a different flavor.

Jeanette Simpson

This is a New Zealand dessert created for a visit by the great Russian ballerina. It is one of the recipes I discovered while living in Canada. I got it from a Toronto newspaper. I always gets raves when I serve it.

4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 pt. whipping cream
2-3 Kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced in rounds

Beat egg whites with salt in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form, then pour sugar in very gradually, beating all the time. Beat until meringue is stiff and glossy, then beat in vinegar and vanilla. Place waxed paper or foil on large baking sheet. Pile meringue high in a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Place baking sheet in middle of 225 degree oven for one hour, then turn heat down to warm and leave at least 2 hours. Remove from oven and peel paper off. Place on round serving dish. Top with whipped cream, then strawberries then kiwi slices.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Jeanette Simpson

2 sticks butter
1 (12 oz.) jar peanut butter
1 lb. box powdered sugar

Melt butter and peanut butter in saucepan. Add powdered sugar and mix. Spread in 8-inch square pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.

"May you always be blessed with walls for the wind, A roof for the rain,
A warm cup of tea by the fire – Laughter to cheer you, Those you love near
you, And all that your heart might desire."

Gaelic Blessing

Chocolate Orange Meltaways
Jennifer Barnhart

This is my daughter’s recipe.

1 pkg. (11 1/2 oz.) milk chocolate chips
1 c. (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. whipping cream
1 tsp. grated orange peel
2 1/2 tsp. orange extract
1 1/2 c. finely chopped toasted pecans
1 c. (6 oz.) milk chocolate chips
2 T. shortening

Place chocolate chips in a bowl; set aside. In a saucepan, bring cream and orange peel to a gentle boil; immediately pour over chips. Let stand for 1 minute; whisk until smooth. Add extract. Cover and chill for 35 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Beat for 10-15 seconds or just until mixture lightens in color. Do not overbeat. Spoon rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper lined baking sheets. Cover and chill for 5 minutes. Gently shape into balls; roll half in pecans. In a microwave or double boiler, melt 6 oz. chocolate chips and shortening. Stir until smooth. Dip remaining balls in chocolate. Place on waxed paper to harden. Store in refrigerator. Makes 6 dozen.

Rum Truffles
Jeanette Simpson

8 oz. German sweet chocolate
1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. butter, softened
1 T. rum flavoring or 2 T. rum
2 egg yolks

Melt chocolate as package directs. Cream together sugar, butter, and flavoring. Add melted chocolate to sugar mixture and blend well. Add egg yolks and beat until mixture is thick and creamy. Cool completely. Form into 1/2-inch balls. Balls can be dipped in melted chocolate, rolled in ground nuts, cocoa, powdered sugar, or eaten as is. Store in airtight container in a cool place for about 1 week. Serves 20.

Gingered Baked Fruit
Jeanette Simpson

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks
1 (16 oz.) can pear halves
1 (16 oz.) can peach halves
1 (16 oz.) jar maraschino cherries
1/4 c. butter
1 T. ground ginger
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar

Drain the fruit. Combine fruit in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Melt butter; add sugar and ginger, stirring until smooth. Pour ginger mixture over fruit. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

"The great use for life is to spend it for something that outlasts it."

William James

Shepherd’s Salad
Jeanette Simpson

1 1/2 c. tomato, diced
1 c. green pepper, diced
1 c. peeled cucumbers, diced
1/2 c. fresh parsley, minced
1/3 c. green onions, sliced
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T. water
1 T. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine all in a medium bowl. Chill for 1 hour. Yield: 8 servings of 1/2 cup with 34 calories per serving.

Ripe Olive-Onion Tarts
Jeanette Simpson

1 1/2 c. sliced pitted ripe olives
1 1/2 c. thinly sliced onions
2 T. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. half-and-half
8 unbaked (3 1/2 in.) tart shells
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain olives. Cook onions in butter in a saucepan over low heat until soft but not browned. Cool. Add olives, seasonings, eggs, and half-and-half; mix well. Spoon into tart shells and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place on a baking sheet and place rack in lower half of oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is browned and filling is set. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

Jimmy Dean Sausage Cheese Balls
Jeanette Simpson

2 lbs. Jimmy Dean Regular Sausage
1 1/2 c. baking mix
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped onions
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Form into 1-inch balls. Bake 15 minutes on ungreased baking sheet until golden brown. Makes about 6 dozen. You can freeze these uncooked then bake when needed.

Beef Salami
Kathy Gambill

5 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. garlic salt
5 tsp. Morton Tender Quick Cure for Meat
2 1./2 tsp. hickory smoke salt
3 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 heaping tsp. peppercorns

Mix all ingredients well. Keep refrigerated, covered well (Tupperware). For next 3 days, knead well. On the 5th day, knead and form into 4 rolls. Place on broiler tray. Bake in oven 8 hours at 150 degrees, then 2 hours at 325 degrees. The salami forms its own casing.

Persimmon Muffins
Jeanette Simpson

My Dad always took us to the woods to pick persimmons when we were kids. His mother had made him persimmon pudding when he was growing up, and he loved them!

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. raisins or dates, chopped
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. mashed persimmon pulp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together dry ingredients. Mix liquid ingredients together well. Add to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin pans to two-thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 14 muffins.

Also Served at the Tea

Fancy Crackers
Spice Cupcakes with Veggie Tale decorations (Lauren)
Sugar Cookies with Pumpkin Faces (Lauren)
Chocolate leaves

"How well I know what I mean to do
When the long dark autumn evenings come;
And where, my soul, is thy pleasant hue?
With the music of all thy voices, dumb
In life’s November too!

I shall be found by the fireside, suppose
O’er a great wise book as beseemeth age,
While the shutters flap as the cross-wind blows,
And I turn the page, and I turn the page,
Not verse now, only prose!"

By the Fireside, Robert Browning

"Tea . . . is especially fitting for persons of self-restraint and inner worth."

Lu Yu (715-803)

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