Preparing for Easter with a Vigil Tea

Today marks the 40th Day of Lent, the darkest of days, the Easter Vigil. It is the day of mourning, of dark uncertainty before the blessings of Easter Morning are revealed. Thought, reflection and prayer went into creating this menu for my first Easter Vigil Tea.

I wanted scones, tea sandwiches and some fruit. I wanted the menu to be very simple and unadorned, as it should be. None of the recipes are designed specifically for an Easter Vigil Tea, but the ingredients lent themselves nicely to the meaning of this season. I thought about sharing with you the thought process and reasons behind each recipe selection, but I’ve decided to do so would amount to my interpretation of this night. The Easter Vigil is far too personal a journey for any single interpretation. When and how God speaks to His children is a private matter of the heart.

This tea can be served during the day before attending an Easter Vigil Church Service. If your services are early enough, the tea can easily be served afterwards. It’s entirely up to you, to your customs, traditions and beliefs. Some families gather privately for the Vigil, and that’s fine, too.

As we wait for the sun to rise on Easter Morning, may your vigil bring comfort and draw the Lord even closer.

Easter Vigil Tea
Good Sheppard Rosemary and Goat Cheese Scones
Mount of Olives Savory Scones with Rosemary Butter

Tea Sandwich Canapés
Thirty Pieces of Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Crown of Thorns Onion Tea Sandwiches
Fishers of Men Smoked Salmon Tea Canapés

Fresh Brewed Tea of Choice

Brewed black tea

Sweet Conclusion
Speared Fruit PlatterSpears of Fruit

The Scones:

Good Sheppard Rosemary and Goat Cheese Scones
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
2 3/4 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
1/2 cup Goat Cheese
1 cup Whole Milk
2 tablespoons Butter

Place 1 stick of butter into the freezer to chill well for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside.

Finely mince Rosemary. Set aside.

Using a grater, shred the stick of butter over the flour mixture.

Sprinkle with fresh Rosemary.

Crumble the goat cheese over the flour mixture.

Genly stir to combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour milk into the center of the well.

Using a fork, slowly drag the flour mixture into the milk and combine gently. Don’t over-mix, combine enough to create a dough.

Split the scone dough in half, place on a floured surface. If making full-size scones, shape the dough halves into two disks about 2-inches thick. If making mini scones, divide each section of dough in half again before forming the disks.

Cut the disks into scones using a pizza cutter. Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Bush the tops of each scone with the butter.

Place the scones in the heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Serve warm with butter.

Mount of Olives Savory Scones
Rosemary Compound Butter
1 stick (8 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the Compound Butter:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, add butter, rosemary, honey, and salt.

Process until smooth, then place in the middle of a large piece of plastic wrap.

Roll and twist the side to form a log.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes.

Savory Scones
1/2 cup Butter
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped or sliced pitted Olives
1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
1 1/2 cup buttermilk , plus more for brushing

To make the Savory Scones:
Place 1 stick of butter into the freezer to chill well for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.

With a grater, shred frozen butter into the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, mix butter into the flour to form small pea-sized clumps. Set aside.

Chop olives, add to the mixture. Crush dried Rosemary. Stir into the mixture.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in butter milk.

Dough will be somewhat dry and shaggy, continue to mix until dough forms a large ball.

Shape dough into a disk on cookie sheet and cut into 8 wedges separating them about 1 an inch apart from one another.

Lightly brush buttermilk over the tops of the scones.

Bake scones for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Serve scones warm and spread with the compound butter.

Tea Sandwich Canapés

Thirty Pieces Cucumber Canapés
2 Cucumbers
15 slices thin Wheat Bread
1 tablespoon fresh Dill
8 ounces Cream Cheese
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
Garlic Powder to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
Additional Dill for garnish.

Use a fork to remove strips of peeling from the cucumber.

Slice each cucumber into 15 thin round slices. Set aside on paper towels to drain.

Cut each bread slice into 2 circles. Use a glass or round cookie cutter, making sure none of the crust is part of the circle.. You want the circles to be the same size as the cucumber rounds. If necessary, trim with a sharp knife.

Finely chop the fresh dill. Set aside.

Cream together cream cheese and mayonnaise. Add garlic powder, salt and dill.

Spread one side of each bread round with cream cheese mixture. Top with cucumber slice.

Place remaining cream cheese mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe a star on each open-faced sandwich. Garnish with a little fresh dill and serve.

Crown of Thorns Onion Canapés
1 Red Onion
4 tablespoons Italian Parsley
8 slices firm-textured white bread
1/4 cup Butter, softened
Coarse salt to taste
1/4 cup Mayonnaise

Peel and thinly slice onion into rounds. Set aside.

Finely mince parsley. Place parsley on a plate and set aside.

Using a glass or a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 2 bread rounds from each bread slice; discard trimmings.

Spread one side of each bread circle with a heavy layer of butter. Place a thin layer of sliced onions over the butter. Lightly season the onions with salt. Top the sandwiches with remaining bread slices, pressing lightly to make them adhere.

Spread some mayonnaise around the outside rim of each sandwich round. Roll the rim of each sandwich in the minced chives or parsley to coat.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerator for a few hours.

Fishers of Men Smoked Salmon Canapés
1 long Baguette
2 tablespoons Butter
8 oz Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh Dill, finely chopped
4 oz Smoked Salmon
Additional Dill for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice bread into 1/3-inch thick slices. Place bread slices on a baking pan side-by-side. Melt butter and, using long strokes, brush the tops of the bread. Flip slices over, brush with remaining butter.

Bake bread slices until the edges are just beginning to golden, no more than 5 minutes.

Remove bread from the oven, let cool.

In a mixing bowl, place softened cream cheese and mayonnaise. Set aside.

Finely mince the dill, sprinkle over the cream cheese. Press garlic over the mixture. Blend everything together, mashing with a fork.

Spread cream cheese mixture over the top of each bread slice. Top with a piece of smoked salmon, then garnish with some fresh dill as desired.

Arrange on a serving tray and enjoy.

Sweet Conclusion

Speared Fruit Platter
1 Pint Strawberries
1 small Seedless Watermelon
1 Fresh Pineapple
8 oz Block Cheddar Cheese
4 Cuties or Small Oranges
2 Kiwi
1 bunch Green Grape
1 bunch Red Grape
1 pint Blueberries
15 Cocktail Skewers
1 bunch Mint Leaves
2 or 3 Limes
Small edible Flowers, optional

Note: The skewers should be long and narrow to pierce the fruit. When preparing the fruit for spearing, keep in mind the size of the skewers and make sure that the skewers can go through the fruit without splitting it.

Stem strawberries and cut in half. Set aside.

Cut watermelon into large disks. Cut away the rind,  cube watermelon. Set aside.

Cut pineapple into chunks. Set aside. (If you like, use fresh chunks from the produce section. This will NOT work with canned pineapple).

Cut cheddar cheese into cubes, set aside.

Peel orange and break into sections. Set aside.

Peel kiwi, cut into thick circles then slice circles in half.

Pluck grapes from their stems, set aside.

Rinse and pat dry blueberries. Set aside.

Beginning with the blueberries, then grapes, kiwi, oranges, cheese, pineapples and watermelons, thread fruit onto the cocktail skewers. End with the strawberry to resemble the point of a spear.

Arrange mint leaves on a platter. Lay spears on top of the leaves. Slice limes into wedges. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the fruit to brighten. Arrange remaining wedges on the platter with the spears.

If desired, tuck a few food-safe flowers around the fruit for that “spring” feeling.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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