Happy May Day

Back in Blighty, May 1st is known as May Day. The unofficial start to summer, this is when the weather supposedly picks up and trees start to blossom. And our sources tell us that true to form, the sun is shining across the UK today. Ahh, what we’d do to be stood outside a local pub on a village green, sipping a pint of warm bitter….

Oh to be in England... and all that. Get us a pint wouldya.

One of our favorite of England’s many bizarre and antiquated customs is the Maypole. Originating in pagan Germany a long, long time ago, it is a wooden pole around which dancers wrap ribbons. A very strange sight indeed, and needless to say the association with May day has been lost in the mists of time.

The Great British Photo Album: St George’s Day Contest

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we were blown away by your submissions to our St. George’s Day Contest. We asked for you to post your best vacation snaps from England to our facebook wall and before long, it had become a veritable display of our fair isle in all its glory. We’ve pulled together all the images on our Pinterest account, and below are five of the best. We’ll be announcing the winner on facebook at about midday… stay tuned!!

Whitby Monastery, submitted by Kate Wilson.

The Cornish coast, submitted by Charlotte Quine.

Red phone boxes in Preston, submitted by Corina Pickering.

A bridge in Falling Foss, Sneaton Forest; submitted by Glenda Astacio

Big Ben, submitted by Ashley Domm

Bakewell Tart

We’ve been truly blown away by the response to our St. George’s Day competition over on facebook. To celebrate England’s patron saint, we asked you to post your best vacation pictures from dear old Blighty and, from Lands End to John o’Groats, they’ve really captured the varied beauty of the place. With this in mind, this weekend’s recipe is a gem from one of England’s hidden corner. Along with Cornish pasties and Lancashire hotpot, this is provincial English cooking at its best.

Bakewell tart

This tart is thought to have originated at the Rutland Arms in Bakewell, Derbyshire. The legend goes that an inexperienced cook accidentally omitted the flour in an almond sponge. It should be served at room temperature and does not need any sauce or  custard.

Serves 10-12
Preparation time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

1/2lb Sweet pastry
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon flour
A few drops of almond extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
About 2 tablespoons water
Glacé cherries (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Place a baking tray large enough to hold a 9-inch pie dish in the oven.
  • Line the pie dish with the sweet pastry and spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the pastry.
  • Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale. Add the eggs a little at a time, then add the almond extract. Fold in the flour and ground almonds and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour the mixture into the pastry and bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is just set and browned.
  • Place the tart on the baking sheet while it is cooking.
  • When the tart is cool, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the water, pour over the top of the cake, and let set. Garnish with glacé cherries, if you like.

We’ll be announcing the winner of the competition tomorrow morning, so you still have time to enter. Check out our Pinterest account to see all the pictures in one place and remember, all our recipes are available in our cookbook. You can order a copy via email (info@teaandsympathynewyork.com), or by phone (212-989-9735).

Well done on the cricket!

From everyone at Tea & Sympathy – and all the expats who care! – we’d like to congratulate our boys in white – the England cricket team, who earlier today triumphed in their historic 2,000th test match with a convincing 196-run victory. The next test match begins on Friday – fingers crossed!

Jimmy Anderson celebrates


* We are particularly partial to the sport of cricket because of their continued adherence to the tradition of taking afternoon tea between the second and third sessions of the day – to do it any other way just wouldn’t be cricket!

Summer Pudding

So, after a questionable spring, summer is well and truly here. While our compatriots back home are well and truly soaking, the telltale signs of July in New York – blasting aircon and smelly sidewalks – can’t be ignored. And there’s only more to come. So here at Tea & Sympathy, we thought we’d do our best to help you replicate one of Britain’s finest features – a glorious summer’s day – with a few of our favorite seasonal recipes from our cookbook Tea & Sympathy: The Life of an English Teashop in New York. If you’d like to be the proud owner of a brand spanking new copy, we’ll happily ship – please see our contact details below.

Where better to start than with Summer Pudding. In America, puddings are soft, mousse-like affairs. In England, pudding means any kind of dessert. This is the easiest pudding to make, but people think you are a creative genius, because it looks like a lot of work has gone into it. Use a smooth round bowl so it will come out in a nice dome shape, then sprinkle a few fresh berries around the dish and plop a sprig of mint on top. We love it with a dollop of clotted cream or slightly whipped heavy cream. We stock both in our store, imported from the UK, and can ship to you. Please see our contact details below if you would like to make an order.

Summer Pudding

Serves 6-8

2 lbs. fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
½ cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
8-10 slices of white bread
Whole berries for garnish
Mint sprig for garnish (optional)
Clotted cream or heavy cream (optional)

  • Simmer the fruit with the sugar and lemon juice for 5 minutes, until the fruit has softened. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
  • Remove the crusts from the bread and line a dessert bowl with the slices, reserving enough bread to cover the top of the fruit.
  • Fill the bread-lined bowl with the fruit and then cover with the remaining bread slices.
  • Cover the bowl with a plate that fits inside of the bowl, so it sits directly on top of the pudding. Put something heavy on top to weight it down, and chill overnight.
  • When ready to serve, place a large plate upside-down on top of the pudding and flip over the pudding with the plate. The pudding should come out whole. (If the pudding doesn’t come out whole, just serve it in individual service dishes and garnish as below.
  • Garnish with some fresh berries and a sprig of mint. Serve with clotted cream, or fresh heavy cream, poured or whipped.

Now sit back, relax and imagine sipping from a glass of Pimm’s and watching a game of cricket on the village green, as dappled sunlight dances in the afternoon breeze on the grass below. Bliss.

If you would like to order a new copy of our cookbook, heavy cream, or clotted cream, to be delivered to your doorstep, please call us on 212-807-8329 / 212-989-9735, or email us at info@teaandsympathynewyork.com. If you’re in the neighborhood, pop in to enjoy other summer specials: our menu is currently heaving with delights such as kedgeree, summer bean salad and asparagus, stilton and tomato quiche to name a few.

Stay tuned for more recipes in the coming weeks. God bless the Queen!