Oh, we do like to spoil you. Here’s a third summer classic from our cookbook ‘Tea and Sympathy: The Life of an English Teashop in New York’. For many, finger sandwiches are the height of refined English summertime. Classically held between the forefinger and thumb, with a glass of Pimm’s in the other hand, while standing on an expansive lawn, as the warm summer sun begins it’s afternoon descent and jovial conversation fills the air. No village fete or garden party is complete without this must-have summertime culinary accessory.
Here we provide instructions for cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches on white bread. This is the most typical of finger sandwiches – the soft give of the crustless white bread complimented perfectly by the luxuriance of the cream cheese and the satisfyingly crisp bite of the cucumber. A good tip – with a simple recipe like this, seasoning is the key: be especially liberal with your salt to coax out the subtle flavor of the cucumber, while making sure not to overdo it! And it’s a good idea to peel the dark green skin from the outside of the cucumber which can often be bitter and ruin the delicate flavor of the sandwiches.
Finger Sandwiches are great as lunch or a snack and are a must at afternoon tea. The thinner the bread the better, however, some whole loaves are difficult to slice thinly, especially when they are very fresh, so try to choose quite dense bread when slicing yourself. To help the sandwiches stay fresh before serving them, cover with paper towels sprinkled with a little water, or wrap in cellophane. Do not refrigerate as they will go soggy. White bread goes stale much faster than seven-grain or wholewheat.
Makes about 10 sandwiches
Cream cheese, softened
Very thinly sliced cucumber, peeled
Salt and Pepper
- Choose a selection of good-quality, thinly sliced white, wholewheat and seven-grain breads.
- Peel the dark green skin from the outside of the cucumber with a vegetable peeler.
- Spread a little cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread, then layer cucumber to desired thickness. Season to taste
- Top with a plain slice.
- With a sharp knife, cut the crusts off of the bread and discard. Cut the sandwich diagonally into triangles or finger shapes.
- Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh watercress.
Here are a few other ideas for fillings:
Egg Salad & Watercress
Cucumber & Cream Cheese
Ham & Cream Cheese
Yum, yum, yum – now everyone out to the lawn before it rains again!