I am the Food Chairman of the English Tea, produced and choreographed by the Women of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, Tennessee, every December.
The tea is an enormous undertaking. It takes months of planning and weeks of execution. There are multiple committees involved. You would think as the Food Chairman for the past five years, I would have learned to delegate. But I have not. Well, that’s a lie. I delegate almost everything – the tea sandwiches, the sweets, the scones – to my most trusted compatriots. They never fail.
But I always give myself the worst job of the lot – making the Devonshire Cream. What? You know nothing of Devonshire Cream? How…happy you must be. Of course, our version of Devonshire Cream is completely fake. Real Devon Cream is clotted cream and involves some insanely difficult process of warming and scalding and what-not. We use cream cheese and a stand mixer. So the tea is Saturday and today is Devonshire Cream Day. Here’s the set-up:
Why is this the worst job of the tea? Because it’s totally messy and labor intensive. First you dump the cream cheese in the mixing bowl. Then you attach the paddle, turn the mixer on and watch the cream cheese rush to the center of the paddle and cling there insistently. You scrape it down and turn the mixer on again. Same result. You add the cream. You turn the mixer on and deflect a torrent of flying cream/cream cheese globules hurtling out of the bowl directly at your face. Then you add the confectioners sugar and mix again, shielding yourself from the viscous cloud of sugar that rains down upon your head.
Granted, I have more than quadrupled the original recipe. I use 12 blocks of cream cheese, a quart of cream and 3 cups of confectioners sugar. As you can see from the recipe below, the average person will just need a bit of each.
What’s it for? The scones, of course, silly goose. The 270 orange-cranberry scones a team of bakers produced yesterday. I will be updating you on the tea daily for the next several days. Just in case you ever want to do your own. Ours makes a boat load of money to fund the WSP projects. You could go to school on us.
By the way, the author of this recipe is Donna Johns, who preceded me as the Food Chairman of the tea. I got the job after she left town. I know why.
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Refrigerate. Serve with scones and jam.