Cover of Alice's Tea Cup

Title: Alice's Tea Cup
Author: Haley and Lauren Fox
229 pages; Hardcover $24.00 US/$32.00 CAN
Publisher: William Morrow, NY NY 2010
Reviewed by, Chef John Vyhnanek, March, 2011

The review--- Alice's Tea Cup is a NYC Upper East Side tea cafe serving many varieties of tea, famous scones and tea bread, snacks and sandwiches. A second and third location were added in the city not too long ago. Now you can share in the excitement that others have found while eating there. The New book Alice's Tea Cup features all the recipes they use and more! Everything from Buttermilk scones to Green Goddess Soup fill the pages of the book with freshness. There are several nice pictures of food including the eye popping Betin's Wonderland cake.

Tips on proper tea service and enjoyment are nestled in the last chapter. Do you know how to throw a tea party? Well read on and you will get some good recommendations and ideas. Do you need menu pairing ideas or want to know about tea dyeing? It's all in the back of the book along with a resource section so you can find the tea, ingredients and even party favors.

The pumpkin scones with caramel glaze are the most served item and have won rave reviews, so it was a must-try recipe. Pretty easy to make and taking about an hour to accomplish, they were over-the-top good! I don't see how anyone can finish a whole one and feel normal afterwards, the sugary sweetness put me in la-la land for an hour or so! The same could be said for the molten chocolate cake, "Warm Soft Chocolate Cake" as it's called in the book. This dessert has been a big hit in restaurants for the past decade with its rich chocolate almost souffle-like cakey shell; the cake exudes a molten flow of warm chocolate once it’s cut into. This was delicious and top notch!

This is a great book for the home pasty chef and baker. The recipes are very good and the book is fun to look at, enjoy!

Recipes tested---!
Molten Chocolate Cake
Warm Soft Chocolate Cake
Makes4 Servings

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, pistoles or morsels
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Optional garnishes/serving ideas:
confectioners' sugar, creme anglaise whipped cream and berries, vanilla (or your favorite) ice cream
We created this little warm explosion of oozy chocolate goodness because we're chocolate fanatics and insisted on having a rich, chocolatey dessert on our menu to complement some of our fuller-bodied black teas and dessert blends. Mission accomplished! A few tea suggestions: Phoenix Dessert Blend (black tea flavored with honey, caramel, and vanilla), Symphony (black tea flavored with chocolate and strawberries), or a straight, rich Assam, such as Sessa.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray four individual 4-ounce aluminum baking cups (not cupcake liners) with cooking spray or coat them with butter. Then dust them with flour. (This will help the cakes slide right out.)

2. In a medium glass bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave oven or in a water bath or double boiler. Mix thoroughly until you have a shiny chocolate sauce.

3. In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and beat until thick. With the mixer running, add the 1 tablespoon flour.

4. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared baking cups, and bake for 11 minutes. Watch the time carefully!

5. Turn each container upside down onto the center of a serving plate, and slowly lift and slightly shake the aluminum cup so that the cake slides out upside down. Serve with the garnish of your choice.

NOTE: You can prepare these ahead of time to bake later. Cover the filled baking cups and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Then bake the chilled cups for 13 minutes.