Breakfast at Wimbledon

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Yesterday it was so hot here it made me hate my life.  It reminded me why I don’t live south, or east, and it made me wonder how on Earth I survived summers on a tennis court growing up in Florida.  While I live to tell tales, I’m pretty sure it shaved a few years off of my life.

Speaking of tennis, a menu for next year’s Breakfast at Wimbledon.

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What? You know I’m not a timely recipe poster. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Being the major Anglophile that I am, and an ex-avid tennis player, Wimbledon is my favorite sporting event (ok…besides the Super Bowl…). There’s something about the ceremony and tradition of it that I simply love and while I’m admittedly out of the loop for most of the season, Breakfast at Wimbledon is not to be missed.

Ten (ten…eek!) years ago when I was studying abroad for the summer, I had the chance to actually go to Wimbledon. It was such a dream, and the magic and excitement of being on the grounds was enough to turn my friend hockey-loving friend Tripe into a lifelong fan.

Before breakfast, a little history. The Championships at Wimbledon have been around since 1877, and are hosted at the All England Club, located in the outskirts of London.  One of the four tennis grand slams, it’s the only slam played on grass, and timing wise, it’s sandwiched between the French and U.S. Opens and rolls out sometime around July 4th.

Summertime, summertime.

Breakfast at Wimbledon is actually an American tradition since, being 5 hours behind England, NBC’s coverage began early in the morning and we always watched the men’s final over bagels or palacinta.

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So, what’s to eat?

Strawberries and cream, obviously.

Scones, necessary.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche, for sustenance.

Bangers, an afterthought.

Victoria Sponge, for dessert.

Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms’ Cup, for pizzaz.

Let’s break it down.

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According to the Times, the tradition of strawberries at Wimbledon has been around since the very start- both the fruit and the games signaling the start of summer.  And, despite what I’m looking at outside my window, it is summer.

The Victoria Sponge cake has been on my to-make list for a while. There’s nothing notably special about it- a simple sponge layered with jam and whipped cream- but for something like cake for breakfast or an afternoon tea party, it works just splendidly.  Plus, I am obsessed with fresh whipped cream and unnecessarily hoard jam, so if I think about it, seems like this is my perfect cake.  For a lovely write up and story about the Victoria Sponge, check out Global Table Adventure.  Mary Poppins is referenced, so it’s clearly worth the read.

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Anyway, the idea behind this recipe is to weigh the eggs at the offset, and then match that weight in butter, flour and sugar.  I did that, and came up with some volume measurements that weren’t all nice and even, but that was a little bit of the fun of it. I talked to mom and she made a good point that these would probably change with the weather: more or less humanity, etc. She’s right, so for best result, bust out the scale. If you don’t have one, I think these measurements would surely still do.

Victoria Sponge Cake
Yields 1
Traditional English Sponge Cake layered with fresh whipped cream and jam.
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For the cake
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 cup plus 2 TB granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup plus 1 TB butter
  4. 2 cups plus 1 TB self-rising flour
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
  1. 1/2 cup boysenberry (or your favorite) jam
For the whipped cream
  1. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  2. 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, or to taste
  3. Strawberries, to garnish
  4. Confectioner's sugar to garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. One at a time, add the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
  4. Add the flour, a bit at a time, blending after each addition. Careful to not overmix!
  5. Pour the batter into 2 8" cake pans, or 1 2" x 8" cake pan, buttered, sugared and lined with parchment.
  6. Bake 1 hour if using one pan, 35 minutes if using two pans until springy to the touch and a center tester comes out clean. Let cool in the cake pan 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to finish.
  7. Meanwhile, whip the cream to stiff peaks and add in the sugar.
  8. Assemble the cake once cool by placing the jam and cream in between the two layers. You can also split the cream in between the middle and the top.
Notes
  1. My eggs weighed out to 8.6 ounces, so I weighted all the other ingredients accordingly. Yours may vary.
Adapted from Peyton and Byrne British Baking
Adapted from Peyton and Byrne British Baking
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/
As for the Pimms’, I’d heard some not so great reviews of the traditional Wimbledon cordial, but this concoction got rave review at my table.  While it was no margarita (love margaritas…), it was quite tasty and perhaps an interesting way to mix up a summer picnic after too many weeks of Sangria.  The blackberry and elderflower flavor gives this a beautiful color and ties in with the fruitiness of the rest of the menu.

Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms Cup
Serves 6
A twist on the traditional Pimms' cup
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups sparkling lemonade (I use one bottle from Trader Joe's)
  2. 1 1/3 cups Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms' cordial
  3. Handful of mint leaves
  4. 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
  5. 8 strawberries, hulled
Instructions
  1. Add all but the lemonade to a pitcher and give it a good stir. Just prior to serving, add the lemonade so ensure maximum fizz.
Adapted from My Little Larder
Adapted from My Little Larder
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

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From start to finish, this spread will have you munching from the first serve to when the final ball is called out.

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Cheers!

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