Old-fashioned Tea Party/Tea Sandwiches-1

Sunday September 6, 2015

A ritual that has come right up from the Victorian times into the 21st century with all its charm is the afternoon tea ritual.  If you visit a grand hotel, elegant department store, museum, or café that has a sign advertising a “Tea Room” or “Salon de Thé,” you will be offered a formal Cream Tea, a little meal sandwiched between lunch and dinner.

Teas are also a popular style of imaginative entertaining, like out in your garden for a wedding shower, little afternoon meal for a birthday with an elaborate table setting with silver and china tea cups, or a late afternoon buffet for couples.  Want to surprise your kids? Have tea and jam toasts together when they come home from school.

The cornerstone of the tea meal is an assortment of savory little tea sandwich and canapés rather than all sweets.  If you want a more substantial meal, add Welsh rabbit over toast or a quiche.  My girlfriend Rosmarie, who is an accomplished hostess and private chef, entertains often with all-girl afternoon teas, serving egg salad and smoked salmon sandwiches cut out into dainty 3-inch heart shapes as a prelude to her signature dessert table.

Here are some of my favorites that have stood the test of time. I made for catering, as well as my home entertaining. The Smoked Turkey is a signature sandwich. As you can see, keep the sandwich fillings simple.

I keep the sandwiches, made the day before if the party is big, stacked in large square Tupperware plastic containers.  Keep a layer of plastic wrap on top to prevent the top layer from drying out, or on a tray with a damp clean tea towel and a layer of plastic wrap on top, in the refrigerator until serving.  Arrange the sandwiches on a silver tray or platter for serving.

Smoked Turkey Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • One  1 1/2-pound package skinless hickory-smoked turkey breast, cut into chunks
  • 6 green onions
  • About 1/2 cup mayonnaise, just enough to bind
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 loaves thinly sliced white or whole wheat bread (about 24 slices),

Instructions

Place the turkey breast and green onions in the food processor and coarsely grind.  Add the mayonnaise and pulse to make a spreadable paste.  Spread the turkey mixture on half of the bread slices.  Cover with the remaining slices.  Trim the crusts and cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.  Makes about 48 small sandwiches.

Cucumber and Watercress Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch watercress, bottom stems removed and finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • About 1/2 cup mayonnaise, just enough to bind
  • Grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 long English hothouse cucumber, sliced
  • 1 1/2 loaves thinly sliced white or whole wheat bread (about 16 slices)

Instructions

Season the watercress with salt and pepper.  Cream the butter and add the mayonnaise and lemon zest.  Spread the mayonnaise butter on all of the bread slices.  Sprinkle half of the slices with watercress and cover with some cucumber slices.  Cover with the remaining slices.  Trim the crusts and cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.  Makes about 32 small sandwiches.


Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2012

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.



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