When we last left Cherry Hill our two main characters, Jack and Amanda, were on the run from a group known as "The Association." In the meantime, there has been much speculation around town...
Please enjoy the story and today's Cherry Hill recipe for Afternoon Tea and Cookies Cheesecake featured at the end.
Missed an episode? Get caught up here: Cherry Hill index
Marjorie Wilson was not happy. It had been days since the disappearance of her son Jack along with Amanda Fitzpatrick and her children, and the entire town of Cherry Hill was abuzz with speculation. Especially since there had been so many rumours last year when Amanda's husband Paul was killed in a late night car crash with another woman by his side.
Although Marjorie knew there was far more to the disappearance than something as silly as an affair, it was all she could do to keep her mouth shut because it seemed as if no matter where she went in town, people were talking - and there was absolutely nothing she could say to quiet down the rumour mill.
The latest was a doozy, though, and Marjorie sighed with disappointment that anyone could so much as entertain the thought that Jack might be up to no good. She heard about it last Thursday at the beauty parlour while in to get her weekly set. When Edith Winkler put the dryer over her head, everyone in the room assumed Marjorie couldn't hear the conversation - and though Marjorie played deaf - she was shocked to discover many of the good people of Cherry Hill thought Jack may have kidnapped Amanda and the children. A rumour that had apparently been started by Dr Walt Fischer.
From the moment Walt Fischer had set foot in Cherry Hill, Marjorie hadn't liked him. As a secret keeper it was both a blessing and a curse that Marjorie got feelings and hunches about things that more often than not turned out to be correct, and she knew she was right on the money when it came to the good doctor. Though with everything so up in the air at present, there was blessed little she could do about it.
The intuition, the knowing - these were all things Marjorie would give up in a second if given half the chance, and truth be told, if she could walk away now she would. But this wasn't, nor would it ever be, an option. Though she had worked diligently when Amanda had first come to Cherry Hill to make her life miserable, Amanda was made of stronger cloth and had stuck it out - thus activating the Zanzibar.
And now there was no turning back.
Marjorie tried to put it out of her mind and decided to pop into Sal's Soda Shoppe for a Cherry Coke - anything to feel a sense of normalcy, even if it was just for a short time. But when the entire place fell into hushed silence the minute she walked in, Marjorie realized her reprieve was going to be short lived. And the fact that Dawn Grassick was playing court with her cronies from Ladies Bridge certainly didn't help matters!
Dawn and Marjorie had been silent enemies for many years - though they certainly never socialized (the Protestant Auxiliary and Ladies Bridge seldomn mixed) - the rivalry between associations during bake sales at winter fair was known all over the province. Especially since Dawn had taken over from Marjorie as blue ribbon baker the last two years in a row at the District County Bake Off and Baseball Tournament in nearby Poplar Grove.
"If only you knew who you were really dealing with," thought Marjorie as she glared in Dawn's direction, "You would take your strawberry pie and head for the hills!"
As though reading her mind, Dawn stood and approached her.
"Quite the kettle of fish Jack's gotten himself into isn't it Marjorie? As his mother, you must be so worried."
Marjorie turned, grateful she had worn sufficient lipstick and blush to hide the pallor of rage slowly creeping from neck to face.
"In all the days of his life," said Marjorie in her haughtiest voice, "my son has never given me cause to worry. And that includes the time he spent overseas where, you will recall, he was decorated as a war hero. That he is currently away should be none of your concern, and shame on you for inferring otherwise!"
With that, Marjorie turned on her heel and with a ramrod straight back and head held high, walked out of the shop.
Inside, however, she was quaking. Ever since last night, Marjorie held a bad feeling - a niggling deep in her being - that something wasn't right.
She could have no way of knowing as she stood in the sunshine of a late summer afternoon, that her son, Amanda, and the children had been surrounded by members of The Association and were about to be taken somewhere a world away from Cherry Hill.
As if to console herself, Marjorie went home and began baking. Dawn may have beaten her last year, but the Fall Harvest dance was just around the corner, and Marjorie had a show stopper she planned to present at this year's bake off:
Afternoon Tea and Cookies Cheese Cake
As Marj got to work perfecting her recipe, she could almost forget the complicated world of the Zanzibar.
How she longed for a life that was normal...
Stay tuned next week for another exciting installment of Cherry Hill. If you'd lie to enjoy making today's featured recipe yourself, please enjoy.
The printable recipe can be accessed here: Afternoon Tea and Cookies Cheese Cake
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup chilled butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large egg yolk
- 400 grams cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons strongly brewed Lady Grey tea
- 1 tablespoon contents of one of the brewed teabags (the tea leaves)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 Lady Grey teabags
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 cup white sugar
- Toast the almonds in a non stick pan over medium heat until they are golden and fragrant. Set aside.
- Combine almonds, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup icing sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt; stir well.
- Add butter and blend until coarse meal forms.
- Add egg yolk and blend until moist clumps form. Knead dough into ball.
- Roll the dough into an 8 inch tube. Divide into 12 equal pieces.
- Spray a non-stick muffin pan with cooking spray and then press each dough piece into the muffin tin forming cups.Pierce bottom all over with fork. Cover pan with foil and freeze crust at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cookie crusts uncovered about 5 minutes until edges the begin to brown, press sides and bottom with back of fork and then cover pan with tinfoil, continue to bake for another 7-10 minutes checking often so as not to burn. Cool completely. When cooled ( after about 20 min) turn the muffin tin upside down and tap the bottom of each cup with a knife. They should all just pop right out.
- For the cheesecake filling... Beat cream cheese, 1/3 cup icing sugar, the tea, vanilla and tea leaves
- Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture.
- Spoon the cheese cake mixture into each individual tea cup. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
- To make the tea reduction... Bring the cold water, tea bags and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pot. Reduce to medium heat and allow the liquid to reduce down to a glaze. Remove the tea bags halfway, so that they don't make the sauce bitter and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. When the reduction has become the consistency of maple syrup, remove from heat. Allow to cool.
- Top each individual cheesecake with orange zest and a generous drizzle of the tea reduction
- Serve in tea cups with a slice of orange and mint leaf to garnish.
Stay tuned next Sunday for the next exciting installment of Cherry Hill! And if you enjoy reading my food related fiction, pop by and check out my hilarious new web series "Starring Samantha."
Samantha Wentworth's catering business goes belly up along with her marriage to cut throat divorce attorney Alan Wentworth. To recoup her losses she applies to be on a reality TV show, falls in love with the married producer, just about kills the pompous chef host, and gets herself into all kinds of other interesting predicaments.
Stay tuned Saturdays for this brand new serial on The Kitchen Witch! I'll be basing the characters off of well known food world celebs to keep you guessing! Each installment will come with a signature cocktail, recipes, and a fun question and answer to include you in the plot twists - so be sure to bookmark The Kitchen Witch and come along for a fun, food related, romantic romp through the world of reality TV!
Click here for the series index: Starring Samantha
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.
Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.