Tea at the Palace

During Carol Robb’s thirteen years as a royal chef she was very privileged to call some of Britain’s most splendid royal palaces and castles her place of work. She has created a collection of special recipes in celebration of a unique aspect of each of the twelve superb locations. There is an afternoon tea for every taste, whether that be elegant or rustic, summery or warming, savoury or chocolatey, fanciful or flowery.

Asparagus Spears Wrapped in Prosciutto with Chive Cream Cheese

There is nothing to beat British asparagus, and it is a favourite of the royal family. In this recipe, prosciutto – a stand-in for Cumbrian ham – wraps neatly around the asparagus spears, and the concealed chive cream cheese is a delicious surprise.

Makes Twelve

You will need

  • 36 small asparagus spears
  • 90g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • Fresh chives and chive flowers for garnish


Snap off the slightly tough, woody bottom of each asparagus spear. Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom 5cm or so of each stalk.

Have ready a large bowl of ice-cold water. Fill a saucepan with salted water, bring to the boil and add the asparagus. Cook for 1-2 minutes until just tender, depending on the size of the spears. Drain and immediately refresh in the iced water. Then drain again and pat dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, chives and paprika. Cut each slice of prosciutto in half crossways, then fold each half lengthways to a width of about 4cm. Spread 1½ teaspoons of the seasoned cream cheese onto the folded ham, then gather together three asparagus spears and wrap the ham, cheese side in, around them, securing them in a small ‘bunch’. Repeat with the remaining asparagus, prosciutto and cheese mixture to create 12 ‘bunches’ in all.

Arrange on a platter, garnish with chives and flowers and serve right away.

Rhubarb & White Chocolate Tartlets

In this recipe, thin, crisp gold filo pastry shells are filled with unctuous white chocolate-vanilla mousse and topped with tart rhubarb – a heavenly marriage of crunchy, creamy and tangy.

Makes Twelve

You will need

  • 4 rhubarb stalks
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 4 large sheets filo pastry, thawed according to package directions if frozen
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Mousse

  • 300g white chocolate, chopped
  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Decoration

  • 12 raspberries
  • 12 small white edible flowers, such as chamomile


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (gas mark 4). Place twelve 7.5cm fluted round tartlet moulds or a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a baking tray.

To prepare the rhubarb, trim off both ends of each stalk. If the stalks seem fibrous, peel them. (Rhubarb at the height of the season is usually tender enough not to need peeling.) Cut the stalks on the diagonal into 2.5cm lengths. The pieces will have a lozenge shape. Transfer the pieces to a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the water to the dish and then sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb. Cover the dish with aluminium foil.

Bake the rhubarb for about 15 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, uncover and leave to cool completely.

To make the tartlets, lay a filo sheet on a lightly floured work surface, keeping the other sheets covered with cling film to prevent them from drying out. Lightly brush the entire sheet with some of the butter. Lay a second sheet on top, then lightly brush the top sheet with butter. Cut the layered sheets into six 13cm squares. Line six of the tartlet moulds with a filo square, pressing the filo down firmly onto the base. Trim the edges where necessary so the pastry does not extend above the rim. Repeat with the remaining two filo sheets to line the remaining six moulds.

Bake the tartlet shells for 10-12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool completely on the pan on a wire rack, then carefully remove them from the moulds.

To make the mousse, put the chocolate into a heatproof medium bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and is smooth. (Alternatively, heat in a microwave.) Remove from over the heat and leave to cool. Using a balloon whisk, gradually whisk the yogurt into the chocolate. The mixture may initially curdle, but as you continue adding the yogurt, it will become smooth and thick. Whisk in the vanilla.

To finish, spoon the mousse into the tartlet shells, dividing it evenly. Drain the rhubarb well and arrange the pieces on top of each tartlet, finishing with a raspberry and a flower. Serve within a couple of hours, as the pastry softens if left longer.

Win a copy of Tea at the Palace

For your chance to win a copy of Tea at the Palace, please email your name, address and telephone number to:
Closing date: Friday, 27th May 2022

Recipes taken from Tea at the Palace by Carolyn Robb, £14.99 White Lion Publishing. Photography John Kernick.

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