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Traditional English Tea Sandwiches

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Tea sandwiches allow for a lot of creativity, but if you want traditional English tea sandwiches, these recipes will set you on the right path. From classic English cucumber tea sandwiches to traditional smoked salmon finger sandwiches and savory-sweet ham finger sandwiches, these are must-try English tea sandwich recipes for afternoon tea.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches Recipe

Cucumber sandwiches on plate with tea
Joy Skipper/Photolibrary/Getty Images

For a truly traditional English cucumber sandwich, make this recipe with English cucumbers, plain butter (not herbed butter) and white bread. Another traditional English cucumber tea sandwich can be made by preparing cucumber-mint tea sandwiches as open-faced round sandwiches spread with mint herbed butter and topped with fresh mint.

Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwiches Recipe

An image of Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwiches on whole grain bread.
Lindsey Goodwin

Traditionally, smoked salmon finger sandwiches are served open faced with dill and creme fraiche on pumpernickel bread. You can modify the smoked salmon tea sandwich recipe above to make it more traditional by serving it open faced and replacing the mayo with creme fraiche. Other variations on traditional smoked salmon finger sandwiches include salmon and herbed butter tea sandwiches (for a more traditional flavor, prepare the herbed butter with fresh dill), smoked salmon and cream cheese tea sandwiches and salmon and caper finger sandwiches.

Although pumpernickel is very traditional, you can also use whole wheat bread or other types of bread if you'd prefer.

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches Recipe

An image of Simple Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches.
Lindsey Goodwin

Chopped eggs and egg salad are common fillers for English tea sandwiches. This recipe makes dill egg salad finger sandwiches. There are many other variations on egg salad sandwiches (or "creamed egg sandwiches" as they are sometimes called in England) you can try, such as egg salad tea sandwiches with chive butter on whole wheat bread, and paprika egg salad tea sandwiches.

Watercress Tea Sandwiches Recipe

An image of Watercress Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches.
Lindsey Goodwin

The watercress-egg salad recipe linked above is similar to a type of egg salad sandwich served at Harrods in London (where it is also known as an "egg and cress" tea sandwich). Another watercress tea sandwich recipe on the site skips the egg in favor of cream cheese, butter, chives and parsley. For a more unusual variation, try Watercress & Goat Cheese on Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Roast Beef / Ham Tea Sandwich Recipes

Sliced ham and roast beef are often paired with apricot jam or chutney and served on a hearty bread (such as rye or pumpernickel) or a sturdy bread (such as a sliced baguette). Ingredients like mustard, horseradish or watercress can provide a savory-sweet balance for these types of tea sandwiches.

The recipe linked above is for a sweet-and-savory ham finger sandwich. For a very simple ham sandwich for afternoon tea, spread mustard on whole grain bread, add thinly sliced ham, remove the crusts and slice into triangular quarters.

Other Traditional English Tea Sandwich Recipes

Other traditional English finger sandwiches include chicken salad tea sandwiches, tuna salad finger sandwiches with capers, tuna salad finger sandwiches with celery, and cheese and pickle tea sandwiches.

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