A large tea party later in the Thanksgiving weekend can be a great way to entertain friends home for the holidays and a lovely antidote to black Friday shopping. We’ve created an easily assembled menu, taking advantage of both turkey day leftovers and recipes that make a large amount, can be made ahead, or purchased. Make double use of fall decorations still fresh from Thanksgiving.
On the Pedestal:
Ham and Scallion Strata
A strata is a layered casserole including bread and a selection of other possible savory ingredients. A strata is truly the hostess’ friend: it can be made ahead, it tastes wonderful warm or at room temperature, it works perfectly for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea time, and dinner. And it can be varied to fit many flavor profiles. Here is one of our favorites:
Turkey Sandwiches on Baguette with Cranberry Cream Cheese
These tasty sandwiches are easy to make with Thanksgiving leftovers, yet they are elegant and colorful. Soften an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and mix it in a small bowl with about ¼ cup leftover cranberry sauce, whole or jellied. Add more if you want a more intense red color and more cranberry flavor. Thinly slice a baguette and spread a generous amount of the cream cheese and cranberry spread on all of the slices. Add slices of leftover turkey to half of the bread slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with another slice of bread, cream cheese side down. You can add sprigs of watercress on top of the turkey for color and a charming fresh taste if you wish.
Arugula and Pear Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
This fresh and hearty salad will help keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive with an abundance of autumn’s bounty. Pears are at their best at this time of year, and walnuts and cranberries add complex flavor and nutrition. Crumbled Gorgonzola and a bright lemon and poppy seed dressing take this salad far beyond the ordinary.
Best Friend Lemon Bars
Everyone loves lemon bars with their crunchy shortbread crust and tangy-sweet lemon curd topping. And home made Lemon Bars are by far the best. Share this recipe with your best friend, and he or she will be happy to arrive at the Post-Thanksgiving Tea with these very welcome morsels, fresh out of the oven.
These wonderful chewy, chocolaty bars are packed with toasted almonds, chocolate chips and toffee bits, perfect for a brisk autumn afternoon. This recipe makes a large batch and is easy to bake the morning of your Thanksgiving Tea. You can also bake these a day or two early, refrigerate them, and cut them into neat little squares just before serving time.
Blondies are Brownies without chocolate. Their golden “blonde” color comes from the brown sugar and butter that form the foundation of the batter. You can turn these Toffee Brownies into Blondies by simply omitting the chocolate, chocolate chips and toffee bits. Do not melt the butter; beat both sticks of butter with the brown sugar. We recommend keeping the almonds (or pecans) in the recipe and perhaps adding a 12-ounce bag of butterscotch chips, which will keep your Blondies blonde.
Rum Bundt Cake
This all-natural pound cake makes a gorgeous presentation if you bake it in a Bundt pan and serve it on a cake pedestal. You can make it look even more festive by surrounding it with leftover cranberry sauce or candied cranberries. You can make this cake in advance, wrap it tightly and freeze it or whip it up the morning of your Post-Thanksgiving Tea. If you freeze this cake, thaw it the morning of the party and add the warm rum glaze just before serving.
Even Easier Rum Bundt Cake
If you are already exhausted from cooking Thanksgiving dinner and cleaning up, you can make the preparation for your Post-Thanksgiving Tea even simpler by using a boxed cake mix to create a surprisingly splendid rum (or sherry) pound cake which you can bake in a Bundt pan. You will have this cake in the oven in just a few minutes.
Gingerbread Trifle with Leftover Pie
We hope you made the Gosby House Gingerbread, along with several pies, for Thanksgiving. You can find the recipe for this very spicy, dense and sticky gingerbread that the Pilgrims and their Native American friends would have loved in our California Afternoon Tea Menu. This recipe makes a 9” x 13” cake and several extra gingerbread cupcakes. You can use any leftovers as the basis for this very imaginative Gingerbread Trifle. If you have never made a Trifle, you are in for an adventure. Please read our recipe for Christmas Trifle in the Christmas Tea menu that follows this section. You will discover that a Trifle is a spontaneously arranged layering of leftover cake, custard, fruit, nuts, jam and broken cookies limited only by the creator’s culinary vision.
For this Post-Thanksgiving Trifle, we suggest that you incorporate leftover gingerbread with chunks of leftover pie to create anew the spirit of the Thanksgiving Feast. Here are some of our ideas for items that could be included in your Thanksgiving Trifle. Feel free to let your own creativity, and what is left in your refrigerator, guide you.
Custard is a luscious cooked pudding made primarily of milk or cream, egg yolks and sugar. It is not difficult to make at home, and homemade custard is infinitely better than the pudding that is made from the little boxes that you can buy at the store. Custard is also very versatile; it is a key ingredient in Trifle, but it can also be combined with coconut, bananas or chocolate, poured into a baked pie crust and topped with Whipped Cream for a cream pie, or included in any number of fruit or gelatin parfaits.
Custard is wonderful flavored with vanilla, but we have also included the procedure for making Chocolate Custard, and that is only the beginning. Custard can be flavored with brandy, caramel, coffee, nutmeg, or any other taste that appeals to you.
Whipped Cream is a favorite dessert topping that you can make at home in just a few minutes. It is just heavy cream, chilled, and beaten vigorously until it becomes fluffy and doubles in volume. Our recipe includes a little powdered sugar and vanilla, and we have also included a Chocolate Whipped Cream variation. Like custard, whipped cream can also be flavored with a variety of other flavorings or liqueurs.
Be sure to chill the cream, the bowl and the beaters you will use to make the whipped cream. Beat the cream with a hand held electric mixer (or even an old fashioned rotary beater) just until peaks form when you lift the beaters. Soft peaks are perfect for desserts that will be eaten within a few minutes. Stiff peaks are better for toppings that need to hold their shape a little longer, such as pies or trifles that will be refrigerated for a while.