You are having a small group of friends over for tea and conversation just for fun, or a baby shower, or perhaps Mother’s Day. The idea is terribly Victorian and charming and lends itself to all kinds of creative decor.
What better to accompany the occasion than “finger sandwiches,” which as the name implies can be eaten with your fingers! If you’re having tea before a heavier meal, the cucumber sandwich isn’t heavy. The taste is refreshing and cool.
The tradition of serving tea sandwiches dates back to the 1800s in England as a dish for the wealthy, consisting only of buttered bread and cucumber slices. A while later, Southern women took the custom further. They added herb-infused cream cheese and even cut them in various shapes.
Tip: If you don’t want to make herbed cream cheese, you can buy a blend at the supermarket. It works quite well and is a time-saver.
It’s easy to see how you can get creative with something so straightforward. To the basic crustless bread and cucumber, you could add thinly sliced lunch meat or salmon along with a slight morsel of onion, for example. You can also alter the type of bread from white to any other bread you enjoy.
Victorian Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
INGREDIENTS (for 32 pieces)
Note: You can prepare the cream cheese ahead of time (up to 2 days) but do NOT assemble the sandwiches until just before serving. They will get soggy.
- 1 large seedless cucumber
- Sea salt
- 8 ounces plain cream cheese
- ¼ cup real mayonnaise
- 1 Tbs each dill and chives
- 1 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ tsp each garlic powder and salt
- 16 slices bread
- Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- Peel the cucumber with little strips of green remaining (think striped pants).
- Cut the cucumber into ⅛” slices.
- Lay the cucumber slices on a paper towel.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt over them.
- Leve them to drain for 30 minutes.
- Prepare your spread using the remaining ingredients.
- Spread an even coating on one side of ½ the bread.
- Lay cucumber slices evenly on top.
- Put the next piece of bread on top.
- Carefully cut away the bread crust.
- Slice each sandwich into four quarters (or slices)
- Place decoratively on a plate for serving fresh.