Posted 11th Feb 2014
In anticipation of the new cricket season, LandLove's Natalie Mason visited Lord's Cricket Ground to meet with head pâtissier, Thierry Besselievre, for a masterclass in making afternoon tea
Thierry has worked at Lord's for six years, heading a team of six who produced an astonishing 50,000 afternoon teas last year - with everything from the cakes down to the jam handmade on site. The afternoon tea menu changes with the seasons but is kept simple, with a mixture of sandwiches, plain and fruit scones, cakes and dainties, where flavour most definitely takes charge.
We met with Thierry for a lesson in making one of Lord's classic afternoon teas, starting first with scones. Into a mixer goes the dry scone ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and caster sugar) with the butter until a sand-like texture is achieved. The ingredients are cold, kept in the fridge prior to mixing to avoid the butter becoming too warm and producing a heavier scone
After mixing the dry ingredients with the wet (milk, buttermilk and egg) until just combined, we gently kneaded the scone dough before lightly rolling it out to about 1cm thick
After cutting out the plain scone shapes, Thierry combined the rest of the dough with dried cranberries and raisins ready for Natalie to have a go
Ready for the oven, Thierry glazed the scones with a mix of pasteurised liquid egg and egg white before leaving them to rest for 10 minutes
Next, Thierry demonstrated a very steady hand as he put together his own version of a jaffa cake, made with blood orange jelly and almond sponge. The jellies are coated in tempered chocolate before being laid on top of each cake. It's quite the production line when there are hundreds to put together before an afternoon tea service!
Everyone loves a cupcake, but these miniature bakes are actually Victoria sandwiches in disguise. Filled with homemade strawberry jam, piped with vanilla cream cheese icing and topped with freeze-dried cherries, they pack a flavourful punch
The last of the cakes is a tempting chocolate mud cake filled with dark, milk and white chocolate, topped with chocolate cream cheese icing and finished with a white chocolate straw
The afternoon tea is complete! A tempting array of fruit and plain scones served with jam and clotted cream, orange macaroons with strawberry curd (something Thierry whipped up earlier), jaffa cakes, chocolate mud cakes and Victoria sponge
Thierry's top baking tips:
Scones should be made with half milk and half buttermilk for extra flavour
When cutting out biscuits and scones from a dough always flour your cutter before each one and never cover the cutter with your whole hand - it will push all of the air out
Pastry should always be worked with using cold hands. Rinse your wrists under cold water to lower their temperature and stop the butter in dough or pastry from releasing too much oil
Piping is an art that you can perfect with practice. Use the hand you write with to squeeze the bag at the top, whilst your other hand should gently guide the nozzle for extra control
Cakes can be filled with all sorts of curds, jams and creams but must be completely cold before scooping out the middle. Wait a few hours for them to cool to avoid crumbling and use a melon baller to scoop out a perfect round
A good bread dough can only be made when you're in a good mood. If you're in a bad mood you tend to rush and be less careful which affects the way the dough turns out. Remember, a happy person makes a happy dough!
Visit www.shop.lords.org to book a delicious afternoon tea at Lord's for yourself