Welcome to Victoria Eggs' Afternoon Tea Series, where we dive into the art of crafting easy and elegant traditional English afternoon tea finger sandwiches. In this post, we'll share with you the five most common and delightful finger sandwich recipes that will surely elevate your tea experience. So, let's get started with these simple yet delicious treats!
Let's talk about the five types of sandwiches traditionally served during afternoon tea:
- Cured ham and mustard: Opt for good-quality cured ham, and we love pairing it with a lovely wholegrain mustard or a pop of English mustard for little zing.
- Cucumber with mint cream cheese: Use white bread for these refreshing sandwiches. Remember to chop the herbs finely to enhance the cream cheese's taste.
- Smoked salmon with lemon butter: Go for the best you can afford with Smoked Salmon (the late Queen Elizabeth loved Burren SmokeHouse, but you can opt for a more budget friendly pack from M&S or Waitrose). Spread the softened butter with a touch of lemon juice for a perfect balance of flavours.
- Egg salad with cress: Hard-boil the egg just right – around 8 minutes should do the trick. If you can make your own mayonnaise here then it'll add that extra touch of fancy, but otherwise store bought will do the trick. Add a sprinkle of cress for that ‘sticks between the teeth’ English sandwich finishing touch.
- Coronation chicken: Another Royal favourite (and Victoria’s too!) Pre-cooked chicken works well, but if you have time to cook your chicken in a bain-marie then it is beautifully soft. Shred the chicken into small pieces, and add fresh mango and raisins for a fresh and spicy filling.
How Many Sandwiches Per Person?
We recommend allowing one finger of each type of sandwich per person, with each sandwich making three fingers. For example, if serving three adults, prepare one of each type, giving them about one and a half sandwiches each. (It’s important to leave room for cake!).
You can make these finger sandwiches in advance, but be mindful of a few things:
- Keep the crusts on and wrap them well. Queen of cakes, Mary Berry, recommends placing a slightly dampened tea towel over your sandwiches before wrapping, to stop them drying out. Then, cover with cling film until needed and cut into finger sandwiches immediately before serving (remembering to cut off the crusts!)
- Remove them from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving to reach an ideal temperature. (Remember to keep them covered right up until serving!)
Choosing the Bread
The type of bread is up to your personal preference. You can use sliced bread, whether it's white, sourdough, brioche, or multigrain. Opt for pre-sliced bread for ease and consistency, but ensure it’s soft and springy to give the perfect finger sandwich consistency.
Perfectly Cutting the Sandwiches
Use a good quality bread knife to cut neat and even finger sandwiches. Hold the sandwich firmly but not too tight, and slice off the crusts on one side. Rotate and repeat until all four sides are crust-free. Then, cut the sandwich into three fingers by visually dividing it into thirds. (Make sure these are equal sizes!)
We hope these tips and recipes inspire you to create a delightful afternoon tea experience.
Remember, the quality of ingredients matters, so choose the best available to elevate your finger sandwiches to perfection.