Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean

Suggested Recipes

Enjoy Rebecca’s Dean’s Authentic PALACE CIRCLE Recipes while Reading and Discussing the Book


Served between three and five o’clock – tea was a ritual English high society pastime enjoyed whether indoors or outdoors, spring, summer, winter or autumn. The tea served was usually Earl Grey, Lapsang, Souchong or Darjeeling – and it was always served loose, in a teapot.

In summer, champagne was also an appropriate drink with traditional finger-sandwiches and cakes.

This type of tea was often enjoyed by Delia, her daughters, and their friends. The basis of it was always the same – sandwiches of delicately thin bread and butter cut into fingers.

Three fillings paramount to tea sandwiches:
1. Finely peeled and sliced cucumber
2. Smoked salmon with dill, cracked pepper and lemon
3. Egg mayonnaise and mustard cress.

To follow tea, there would be fruit scones served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. Often there would also be a Victoria sandwich cake and/or Richmond Maids of Honor, Brandy Snaps, and a traditional English trifle.

Click below to download Rebecca Dean’s special recipes for these delicious tea accompaniments, as well as Delia’s quiche, enjoyed during a family picnic in Chapter 28 of PALACE CIRCLE.

Richmond Maids of Honor

Tradition is that these little cakes were named maids of honor after the maids of honor who served at Richmond Palace in the 16th century. They can be eaten hot or cold.

Half a 1 ½ pound pack of fresh puff pastry
Flour for dusting
8 oz cream cheese
1 ½ oz superfine sugar
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 oz ground almonds
1 ½ oz whole candied peel, finely chopped
1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
2 Tbsp lemon curd
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Yields 18 cakes.

You will need a 4 inch plain cutter and two 12-hole shallow bun trays.

Begin by cutting the block of pastry in half so that you have two squares and then sprinkle a surface with flour and roll each piece into a square of about 11 inches. Then, using the cutter, cut out 8 circles from each piece. Be careful as you do this – just give the cutter a sharp tap and lift it, don’t be tempted to twist it. Now line the tins with the pastry rounds. You should have 18 total.

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, ground almonds and chopped candied peel. Then in a separate bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk and add to the rest of the ingredients. Mix very thoroughly with a large fork until everything is evenly blended.

Next, spoon half a teaspoon of lemon curd into the base of each pastry case – don’t be temped to add more, as it will bubble over during the cooking – then spoon a dessertspoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of this. Then, when all the mixture has been added, bake the tarts in two batches on the center shelf of the oven for about 20-25 minutes, by which time the mixture will have puffed up and turned a lovely golden brown. Now take them out of the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Don’t worry if they start to sink a little. It’s normal. If you like, you can give them a faint dusting of confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Classic Victoria Sandwich cake

Named after Queen Victoria, who adored it.

Ingredients for the cake:
8 oz superfine sugar
8 oz softened butter
4 eggs – beaten
8 oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp milk

Ingredients for the filling:
4 oz butter – softened
6 oz confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Drop vanilla extract (optional)
12 oz of strawberry jam
Confectioners’ sugar – to decorate

Heat oven to 350F. Serving - 10 slices.

Butter two 8 inch sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper. In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter

Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon, then bake for about 20 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

To make the filling, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. Beat in vanilla extract if you’re using it. Spread the butter cream over the bottom of one of the sponges, top it with jam and sandwich the second sponge on top. Dust with a little confectioners’ sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within two days.

Brandy Snaps

¼ pint heavy cream
2 oz butter
2 oz superfine sugar
2 oz golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
2 oz all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp brandy (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Yields 6 servings.

Grease 2 baking trays. Heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan, over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Stir in the flour and ginger and mix until smooth Add brandy (if used).

Place teaspoons of the mixture a few inches apart on the baking trays. Bake until brown and lacy. Allow to cool slightly. While still warm, remove from the tray with a palette knife and wrap around the handle of a wooden spoon, allow to become firm before removing.

If not eating immediately, allow to cool, and store in an airtight container

To serve: pipe whipped cream (flavoured or sweetened to taste) into the brandy snaps.


Scones may be made with or without sultanas (white seedless grapes) and should be served slightly warm, with heavy cream and strawberry jam

8 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 ½ oz butter at room temperature
1 oz superfine sugar
30 oz sultanas
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 Tbsp plus 1 tsp milk

Heat oven to 425F. Yields 10 scones.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Run in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and sultanas. Add the egg and 4 Tbsp milk. Mix lightly to a soft dough.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 3 quarters of an inch thick. Using a 2 and ¼ inch plain or fluted biscuit cutter, cut out 10 rounds, re-rolling the dough as necessary.

Place the scones on a greased baking sheet and brush the tops with the 1 tsp milk. Bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Celebration Trifle

This trifle easily serves 8-10 and should be made the day before to allow the flavors to develop.

1 lb fresh raspberries hulled
5 oz superfine sugar
8 trifle sponge cakes
6 oz seedless raspberry jam
6 Tbsp medium dry sherry
4 oz amoretti biscuits (If visiting England, pick up “ratafia biscuits”, to try instead.)
4 large poached, or canned, peach halves, sliced
12 egg yolks
1 ½ pints milk
½ pint heavy cream
1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp kirsch (colorless fruit brandy)
Chocolate caraque to decorate.

Put the raspberries into a large bowl and sprinkle with 4 oz of the superfine sugar. Cover and leave for about 1 hour or until the raspberries start to form juice.

Slice the sponge cakes in half horizontally, then sandwich together with the raspberry jam. Place in a large glass serving bowl and spread with more jam. Spoon 3 Tbsp of the sherry over the sponge cakes.

Spoon the raspberries and their juice over the sponge cakes, then place the amoretti biscuits in a single layer on top and spoon on the remaining sherry. Arrange the sliced peach halves on top of the amoretti biscuits. Cover and leave to stand while making the custard

Lightly whisk the egg yolks with the remaining superfine sugar until thick. Heat the milk until almost boiling and then whisk it into the eggs yolks. Return the mixture to a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until the custard thickens, but do not allow it to boil or to curdle. As soon as the custard thickens, remove it from the heat and strain it through a nylon sleeve on to the peaches. Allow to cool, then cover and chill overnight.

Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and kirsch until it just holds peaks. Carefully spread the cream over the custard, mark into swirls and decorate with chocolate caraque. Chill until ready to serve.

Delia’s Quiche

Ingredients for the pastry:
10 oz wholemeal flour (For a less crumbly pastry, use half wholemeal flour and half all purpose flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
5 oz butter
3-4 Tbsp water

Ingredients for the filling:
10z butter
4 oz spring onions, chopped
4 oz lettuce, shredded
4 oz peas
Salt and pepper
1 ½ tsp chopped mint
4 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg and one egg yolk
¼ pint table or coffee cream
¼ pint milk

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a bowl. Tip in the bran left in the sieve and mix well. Rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add the cold water and mix lightly until the dough forms a ball. Knead lightly, form into a round and cover with plastic wrap. Rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 10 inch fluted flan tin with a removable base. (A metal flan tin is preferable to a white ceramic one as metal conducts more heat and produces a better pastry base.)

Melt the butter in a pan and fry the spring onions, lettuce and peas over gentle heat for 5 minutes. Season, remove from heat and stir in the mint.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the base of the flan then spread the vegetables over the cheese. Beat the egg with the egg yolk, cream and milk. Pour carefully over the vegetables. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes or until the quiche is set and golden brown.

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Format: Trade Paperback, 432 pages
On Sale: March 24, 2009
Price: $14.00
ISBN:978-0-7679-3055-0 (0-7679-3055-X)
Palace Circle
Written by Rebecca Dean
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780767930550
Our Price: $14.00
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