Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Excerpt from A TEA PARTY PLANNER ©Ellen Easton

From a light repast in the afternoon to cocktail fair, fingers foods offer an abundance of possibilities from the simple to the sublime.

Open face floral adorned tea savories ©Ellen Easton

Afternoon Tea sandwiches are customarily finger food size. Remember to embrace the season when choosing both your breads and fillings.

 The key to a well-balanced menu is to never duplicate the bread and consistency used.

When planning your tea menu take into consideration how many of your savory items will be open-faced and how many will be closed.  The origin of an afternoon tea sandwich was a closed finger shape.  In modern times different shapes are not only acceptable they are encouraged.  Cookie Cutters, embossed breads are fun ways to enhance the presentation. Puff pastry, Philo and tart shells, endive leaf, celery stalks, cucumber cups and mushroom caps are all good alternates for open face savories.

When creating a new menu, choose from a list of different breads, both traditional and artisan. When making tea sandwiches, it is customary to remove the crusts from the bread. The exception being when using hard crusted artisan breads.

To keep the bread on your tea sandwiches from becoming soggy and the fillings secure, if not  otherwise using a moist filling, thinly spread softened butter on both interior sides of the bread.

To keep tea sandwiches fresh and moist until ready to serve, cover your sandwiches~ place a layer of wax paper, followed by a piece of dampened, squeezed free of water paper towel, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Repeat layers if needed. When ready to serve, remove all paper layers and discard.

Variety of breads/wraps to use for tea sandwiches: white, pumpernickel, Pulman loaf, rye, sour dough, whole wheat, grained breads; fruit, and raisin, nut and seeded breads, cheese breads, baguette, biscuits, Brioche, artisans, olive, edible herbs and flower breads, Lavasch, pita, crepe, croissant, quiche shell, tortilla. Nut breads are better if stored in a refrigerator 24 hours before using.

Embossed Breads

A single serving should consist of one item of each menu variety served on a plate.

Tea for two savories are placed in the middle of a tiered stand and should consist of two equal servings of each menu variety served.

Reva Paul’s Garde Mange Pullman Loaf filled with tea sandwiches for 1994 Edible Art Gourmet Magazine

Carrot Flower:  Wash the carrot. Cut off the pointed end of the carrot.  Using a vegetable scraper, beginning approximately 2 inches up from the point, scrap the ends of the carrot into a new lean point.  Once shaped, cut off 2 inches from the stem of the carrot.  On the flat cut edge side, using a small sharp knife, cut down into the edges of the carrot to create petal shapes.  Rotate the carrot several times, repeating the cuts.

Radish Flower:  Wash the radish.  Cut off the bottom to allow the radish to stand flat.  Using a small sharp knife, cut down into the top edges of the radish to create petal shapes.  Repeat 3 or 4 times.  The interior of the radish will be white.  Gently refine the shape inside of the white.  Using the blade of the knife, cut a crisscross pattern into the flesh of the white center.

Vegetables:  Using a paring knife or scissors, cut cooked beets, carrots, chives, leeks, peppers, pimentos, or any other vegetables of choice into thinly sliced strips.  When vegetables are thinly sliced, a tiny cookie cutter may also be used to create shapes suitable for garnishing or decorating tea sandwiches and savories.

While working with cut vegetables submerge them in iced water to hold shape until completed.

Linzer Style Tea Sandwiches ~ Recommended Tools and Garnishes: Small and mini cookie cutters, scissors, vegetable scraper, wax paper, carrots, cooked beets, chive, leek, pimentos, colored bell peppers, olive, and edible flowers.

Recommended Fillings: Foods that will show color in the window – salmon, colored cheese, preserves, ham, and chopped egg.

How To Prepare an Individual Linzer Tea Sandwich: Linzer style tea sandwiches are not limited to white bread only.  You may use any bread that can be thinly rolled out to accommodate the use of a cookie cutter.

Using a cookie cutter in the shape of your choice, cut out two (2) identical bread pieces.  Apply softened butter, either plain or seasoned, sparingly on one side of the bread to keep the bread moist.  Using a smaller size cookie cutter in the shape of your choice, cut out the center of the second piece of bread to create an open window.  A helpful hint when using a very small cookie cutter – instead of trying to remove the bread from the outside of the cutter, gently ease the interior section out with the tip of a pointed knife.

Use the solid cut piece of bread as the base.  Place the filling of your choice on the base piece of bread.  Place the windowed piece of bread on top to close the sandwich.

How To Prepare Individual Wrap Style Tea Savory: Make certain the wrap you use is fresh and moist as the dry dough will crack.  Flavored wraps of spinach, tomato, and red bell pepper help to bring color into your tea menu.

Using a cookie cutter in the shape of your choice, cut out individual pieces.  Apply the softened butter, either plain or seasoned, sparingly on one side of the wrap to keep it moist.  Apply the filling and garnish. Press you fingers on the side to mold the edges to create a dimensional shape.

When using a soft cheese filling to create the swirled look, use the prongs of a fork to pull the cheese into the design you wish.

How To Create a Rose Bud Wrap: Cut the wrap into a half moon or semi-circle shape.  Apply the softened butter, either plain or seasoned, sparingly on one side of the wrap to keep it moist.  Place the filling onto the wrap.  Use fillings are easy to roll, such as soft cheese, thinly sliced ham, fine spread of egg salad, or pate.

On an angle, roll the wrap in a spiral shape to create open edges to form a rosette.  Pinch or fold the ends to secure the bottom.  You may also secure the closing by tying the ends with a chive or leek strip.



Spring Flowers:



  • Ellen Easton

    Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions(RED WAGON PRESS), an afternoon tea authority, lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included the Waldorf=Astoria, the Plaza and Bergdorf Goodman. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.

4 Responses

  1. Mercedes Serralles says:

    Outstanding Explotion of colors, shapes and flowers are holding delicious tastes inviting the palate sucumb to temptation a la
    Oscar Wilde.
    This is Ellen’s way to bring us to tea
    or party to celebrate life.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👏👏👏👏💖💖💖💖💖💖🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

  2. Ellen Easton says:

    Thank you, Mercedes. Always appreciate your kind words.

  3. Jamie Picker says:

    Just amazing. Almost too beautiful to eat. Works of art and I am sure they are absolutely delicious

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.