Classic tea sandwiches, your guests will be in for a treat with these three brilliant tea sandwich recipes for afternoon tea. The new classic cucumber and mint, coronation chicken and egg and cress.
I remember the first time I had afternoon tea and I first saw the plates of tea sandwiches appear in front of us. If I’m honest I was a little underwhelmed, I had essentially starved myself all day for this and then I didn’t think they would fill me up. I was left wondering how could these little finger sandwiches amount to a meal.
How wrong I was. I was amazed at how tiny sandwiches, little cakes and copious amounts of tea how full I was. Plus the flavours were great. Light and subtle, but perfectly pitched for the occasion.
So here I have three classic tea sandwich recipes. The first is your traditional cucumber sandwich recipe, but the addition of mint butter turned these into cucumber and mint sandwiches and they really refreshing. Second, is for an English favourite of egg and watercress. The final English tea sandwich recipe is for coronation chicken.
If you’ve never had coronation chicken before, it is essentially curried chicken salad. it was originally developed for Queen Elizabeth II at her 1953 coronation.
All three have slightly different textures and obviously different flavours. But it worked really well together on the plate.
Where did afternoon tea come from?
Just down the road from where we live is Woburn Abbey, and this is the ancestral home of the Duke of Bedford. Several generations ago, in the 1840s, the Duchess of Bedford was looking for a meal to serve mid-afternoon. Thus afternoon tea was created, and the British have loved it ever since!
What are Tea Party Sandwiches?
Tea party sandwiches are traditional finger sandwichs, what the focus being on just a few very fresh ingredients. The classic example would be a cucumber sandwich. It’s not overly elaborate, but it is meant to complement the tea that you’re having and to to be fairly easy to eat. This is why rather than being a full or half sandwich, your classic tea sandwiches are either triangles or fingers and always will crusts cut off.
What type of bread is best for tea sandwiches
Because feeling in sandwiches meant to be the star of the show, you traditionally want to aim for the style of bread that shows off those flavors. A standard white or wholemeal bread, which is quite spongy, would be ideal. You want to avoid more studier or chewy bread, such as sourdough or many rye breads, as their strong
That being said, there are some restaurants but do experiment with some slightly different flavours in their bread, with the aim of better matching the filling. For example, using all of the bread or a turmeric flavoured bread to give some new twists.
How far in advance can you make sandwiches for a tea party?
You can comfortably make afternoon tea
What do you serve with afternoon tea?
The beauty of afternoon tea is that you get to have little morsels of all types of food. In a traditional English afternoon tea, you would likely find a variety of sandwiches, perhaps a tartlet or mini cake, and almost certainly some scones with cream and jam.
What drinks do you have with afternoon tea?
Tea is the most common drink, and you will find many restaurants have a selection of teas. Your top restaurants will be able to recommend a tea based on your preferences. For example, I was introduced to Lapsoing tea, which is a smoked tea, when I first had afternoon tea. I was hooked, I still keep a tin of it in the cupboard for stressful days.
It is also commonplace to find either champagne or prosecco, as an option with your afternoon tea. It is all very delicious.
INGREDIENTS AND TOOLS
To make tea party sandwiches you will need only a few ‘key’ tools:
Don’t forget, you can read all about setting up your kitchen here, so you are all set to cook up a feast!
- Mixing bowl
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
Useful tips during preparation
How do you cut tea sandwiches?
This is probably one of the most difficult parts of tea sandwiches. The traditional shape or is it be cutting so much into four triangles, or into three finger sandwiches. In either situation, you always want to remove the crust. To make it easier to cut, you only want a single layer of filling. For example, you wouldn’t have several cucumber slices on top of each other. You also want a wall really good breadknife for a really sharp chefs knife.
When cutting the sandwiches, you want a light pressure and a single saw motion to cut through. You are trying to avoid both pushing down on the sandwich, which will crush the bottom, or tearing out the filling by sawing too quickly. A sharp knife works best, and I sometimes run it under hot water first to heat up the steel. Not sure why, but it always seems to work for me!
If you like this, try these
Check out our menu for an English Afternoon tea. It has recipes for these sandwiches, British scones with cream and jam, easy fruit tartlets and a brilliant Royal Tea cocktail to make your afternoon tea sing.
Also good food:
- British scones with cream and jam – Total Feasts
- Strawberry red currant Jam – Total Feasts
- Ciambella, Italian Lemon Sponge (I think this would pair really well!) – Marisa’s Italian Kitchen
Tea, more specifically our Royal Tea cocktail (coming next!)
Our Classical Kitchen playlist
English tea sandwiches
- 4 tbsp mayo
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tbsp mango chutney
- 1 English Cucumber
- 14-16 good mint leaves
- 1/2 stick of celery finely chopped
- Small bunch of watercress finely chopped
- 1 cooked chicken breast lightly shredded or
- shredded rotisserie chicken
- 3 eggs hard-boiled
- 12 slices of medium-thick bread slices
- Peel the hard-boiled eggs, and add to a bowl. Break them up using a fork. Add 2 tbsp of mayo and the watercress to the eggs. Season and mix. Spread this onto two slices of bread, and cover with two more to make two sandwiches.
- Put 2 tbsp of butter in a bowl. Take half of the mint leaves and finely chop (save some for drink garnish), mix into the butter. When nice and soft, spread this on four slices of the bread. Slice the cucumber into 1/2cm slices, and place this on two slices of bread. Try not to overlap, as this will make it hard to slice.
- Cover with the other two slices of buttered bread.Place the shredded chicken, celery, mango chutney, curry powder and the final 2 tbsp of mayo into a bowl. Give it a good mix, and spread on the remaining bread to make two sandwiches.
- Using a sharp knife, slice off the crusts off all six sandwiches. Then cut each sandwich into three 'fingers'. Place these on a plate, and cover with cling film to stop them drying out. Put into the fridge until serving.
These might be the prettiest tea sandwiches I have ever seen. The poppy? bread one is my favourite.
David @ Spiced says
I’ve always been enamored by the idea of afternoon tea! What a classic (and honestly really cool) concept. I visited London with my family years ago, but I don’t recall having afternoon tea. Little foods are always better in my opinion! But one question I do have: what do they do with all that bread crust!?
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
Love these little sandwiches! So awesome that you’ve got a selection and the breads are varied. I do love a good curried chicken salad and I could totally get behind having some with afternoon tea. So fun (and tasty to boot). Hope you’re having a great weekend, Matt!
Kelly | Foodtasia says
What a treat! I love these little sandwiches! So cool having a variety of little morsels!
You just can’t beat egg and cress sandwiches Matt. They are most definitely my favourite for afternoon tea!
These tea sandwiches remind me of the sandwiches I would request as a child – finger sandwiches with the crust cut off. Of course, the filling wasn’t as sophisticated. My filling of choice back then was Cheez Whiz. Haha. Now I would totally go for a plate of these cute sandwiches!
Oh Cheez Whiz, I forgot about that. I used to love it as a kid. Now, I will refuse to let my kids try it!
I love coronation chicken sandwiches, which I used to order at a local deli years ago. I haven’t thought of them since, until I saw this post. Such a delicious selection of tea sandwiches. I feel like I need to have a tea party very soon!
Go for it!
These sound so fun and interesting! I have to admit, I’ve never been to an afternoon tea, though. I’m going to have to give it a try- my daughter would LOVE it!
Go for it, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! But you gotta dress up, my sister insisted I wear a jacket and shine my shoes!