Old World Fashion Recipes For Morning Tea - Date and Walnut Roll
Morning tea was created as a relaxing break between breakfast and lunch. It was an elegant custom that soon became a time for entertaining friends. Hopefully, you will find that this recipe fits well with that long-time tradition. This recipe is both filling enough to sustain oneself until lunch and light enough to allow for another meal within a couple of hours.
My granny used to make tea for me when I was little - she used to call it Cambric Tea (and she also made something called Calico Coffee, but I didn't care for that as much.)
Unfortunately, she usually made the tea after lunch or in the early evening, so I never did get to experience "Morning Tea", but she did serve goodies with it, and man they were tasty.
I can still remember the cup granny let me use. It was quite tiny and had little black cats playing with a little red ball of yarn all over the cup and around the rim of the saucer. I always felt so special and grown up to have a real china cup for my tea.
I think it held a quarter of a cup of tea but it was the perfect size and amount for me.
My granny was an amazing baker. She always had rolls, homemade bread, home grown vegetable, pickles...you name it, she made it!
I used to love her baked goodies. Her apple pie was to die for, and her shortbread was the best ever. To be honest I think I liked everything my grandmother made. She never served tea without some type of cookie or loaf, and nothing "store bought" was ever served to company.
I have no idea how she managed to find the time to bake all the tarts, pies and bars that she served. It isn't like she didn't work outside the home. She was a nurse, Worthy Matron of the White Rock chapter of the Eastern Star, and at one time several years prior, a telephone operator.
I look at my life in comparison and honestly have no idea where she found the time to do everything.
All her meals were made from scratch (this was in the era when milk was still delivered to the door in bottles,) her vegetables were grown in her own garden in the back yard, her pickles and chutney were canned every year, along with apple, peach, plum, and cherry preserves and jams.
I have to say, eating at granny's was the best ever!
Tin vs. pan
I wrote this recipe using standard baking tins, however, the recipe calls for using an item called a nut roll tin. You can tell from the picture how the roll will turn out using this item.
I am sure that you can purchase these tins at specialty stores. They really are quite a unique way of baking. They stand upright in the oven, allowing for more tins than baking pans.
If I remember correctly, my granny had a set of these. At the time I had no idea what she used them for, but of course now they make perfect sense.
The one thing that I did not mention yet, but remember with great clarity, was my grandmother's kitchen after she had baked or cooked dinner. I honestly believe that she used every single pot and pan that she had in her cupboards.
I have never seen so many dirty dishes in all my life, and of course, you know who had to help clean up...
Pre-heat oven for Date and Walnut Roll
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 cup dates, chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup self raising flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup plain flour, sifted with self rising flour
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and grease 2 baking tins
- Place margarine, dates, brown sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Transfer ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
- When mixture is at room temperature, stir in baking soda, egg, walnuts and combined flours.
- Pour into greased tins and bake for one hour. Leave in tins approximately 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack
Tea of course
Of course, Morning Tea would not be possible without brewing the tea. My granny schooled me on making the perfect cup. She always insisted on warming the pot first. She would say that one of the most important ingredients of a good cup of tea was making sure you put the boiling water into a hot pot.
Once the pot was thoroughly warmed, she dumped the water and added the loose leaf tea - either by the teaspoon full if she was going to be reading the tea leaves afterward, or in a little tea ball. Then add boiling water. She told me to never let the water cool after it had boiled, but to add it immediately.
She then covered the pot with a tea cozy and let the tea steep. I would always ask for the second or third cup from the pot because I like my tea a bit stronger than the first cup.
We always had Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, and of course, Red Rose to choose from. As I prefer cream and sugar with my tea, my favorite choice was Red Rose with Lapsang Souchong a very close second.
I learned very early in my 'tea drinking career', to strain the tea leaves through my teeth. The only downside to this was a steady build up of tea leaves around the rim of my teacup. As I was occasionally able to convince my Granny to read my tea leaves, she taught me to leave a small amount of tea in the bottom of my cup. That way, when the cup was turned over and placed in the saucer, the tea would redistribute the excess tea leaves in the bottom of the saucer, clearing the cup for a clearer, more legible reading.