Bringing Jane Austen to the 21st Century
Kaitlin Saunders: A Modern Day Persuasion

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery

Posted by Kaitlin Saunders in Blog

Tea time, it seems, was a big part of the English society. Why ever did we do away with it, I have to ask? Just think of those long, tiresome days around the house or at the office—wouldn’t they seem that much more pleasant if you knew your afternoon’s bright spot was to gather around the tea pot and sip tasty tea blends while nibbling on scrumptious goodies and sandwiches? Not to mention the special time set aside to catch up with friends and family, or a good book if you happen to be doing this ritual alone. I find myself trying to incorporate a tea party element into many of the get-togethers I’ve planned in the past or presently. Even my 18th birthday party was a tea party (if I can recall that far back)! I guess I just feel so dignified and old-fashioned when I hold one of my mother’s many collectable tea cups and feign an English accent.

Maybe that’s why when my mother-in-law suggested an Anne of Green Gables movie gathering, I asked if we could make it into a tea party. Doesn’t it just sound so natural to have tea cup in hand while giggling over Anne’s predicaments and watching how Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert put up with her? Besides that, my mother-in-law makes fantastic gluten-free scones (yes, I am one of the many afflicted with gluten-intolerance…bad luck if you’re a bread addict like myself). But I’ve been thinking, what can I contribute to this tea party to accompany those delicious scones? And not only that, but something gluten-free that will be so good it’ll knock the socks off of even those gluten lover’s attending. I know there’s the typical finger sandwiches—your egg salad or cream cheese and cucumber—but what about a delicacy dessert item?

I remember when my “mum” and I were across the pond in England and had a stop over at York. Of course we had to try the “Rock” and Chips, but the next morning we went to the famous Betty’s Tea Parlor and ordered high tea. On the three-tiered tray served to us were cucumber and dill finger sandwiches, fresh scones of a variety of flavors, and delectable dessert items. While we sipped our tea (or in my “mum’s” case that particular morning, hot chocolate), we did our regular people watching as a pianist played some of my favorite show tunes on the grand piano mere feet away. It was a lovely way to end our visit to York.

Although we won’t have heavenly sounding piano music in the background of our tea party, we’ll have something better: laughter, good conversation, and the likes of Anne (with an “e”) Shirley up on our television screen reminding us of a beautiful time in the past and why everyone should visit Canada.

And to end on that note, see below the dessert recipe I’ll be introducing at the tea party!

Makes 12 individual cheesecakes.


1 cup (100 grams) graham wafer crumbs or crushed digestive biscuits (gluten free of course)

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar

4 – 5 tablespoons (55-65 grams) butter, melted


2 – 8 ounce (454 grams) packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature

2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream, room temperature

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