The English do Afternoon Tea. The Scots do High Tea. What’s the difference? The tradition of afternoon tea is often attributed to The Duchess of Bedford who claimed to get a “sinking feeling” at around four o’clock in the afternoon. Whether that’s true or not, the convention of tea was meant as a tide-me-over between luncheon and supper.
In Scotland, High Tea is a real meal. Eaten at the table, it’s a workman’s supper served after the workday at around five or six o’clock. Many areas of Scotland still serve High Tea, particularly in the Highlands. But Scotland has adopted the tradition of afternoon tea, as well.
My local chapter of RWA is having its first ever Afternoon Tea. It’s a potluck so people are bringing tea sandwiches, tarts, cakes, scones, anything and everything associated with afternoon tea. I picked up a great little cookbook in Caithness, Scotland called “Maw Broon’s Afternoon Tea Book.” It contains recipes and tea time traditions with humorous Scots comments and asides.
Since I want to bring tea sandwiches to the tea party, I’m experimenting in advance. I thought I’d share some of the best recipes for tea sandwich fillings. This first one seems to be a big favorite:
I want to make several different types of tea sandwiches or finger sandwiches or, as the Scots call them, “pieces,” so I halved the recipe. Ingredients are roughly: 1 cup cooked chicken breast finely diced, ¼ apple finely diced and soaked in 1 tsp lemon juice, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tsp curry powder, ¼ tsp dry mustard powder, 1 tablespoon mango chutney, 1 table spoon apricot jam, ¼ chopped almond slivers, salt and pepper to taste.
The reason why I diced the ingredients so small is because the sandwiches are small and dainty and won’t be over filled. If I was making the Coronation Chicken for a luncheon salad or big sandwiches, I would give them a rough dice. Combine all the ingredients with the mayo last. The amount will determine the consistency. You want it spreadable but not too loose.
I use Pepperidge Farm White bread because it’s firm and dense and has a regular square shape for the least amount of waste. I like the thicker slice for this sandwich. I’ll use the super thin style on things like cucumber sandwiches.
I don’t want to gild the lily, but I spread a thin coating of softened butter on the inside of each slice. The butter acts like a barrier between the filling so the bread won’t go soggy.
Spread the Coronation Chicken about 1/3 of an inch thick right to the edges.
Place the other slice on top and, using a very sharp knife, slice off the crusts. Hopefully, a hungry kid will be close by to eat them. Try to keep the knife clean with each cut. You can cut in three rectangles or four triangles.
You can make the salad in advance and it keeps well in the fridge, but assemble the sandwiches as close to tea time as possible for maximum freshness.
I like the triangles because they look pretty standing on their sides.
Garnish the plate with tiny flowers, herbs, or strawberry slices.
If you are looking for a great story to read while enjoying your sandwiches pick up Tying the Scott by Jennifer Trethewey for just 99¢ this week only!
At age eleven, Alex Sinclair pledges an oath to the Duke of Chatham promising to serve and protect his illegitimate daughter, Lucy FitzHarris. Nine years later, the duke unexpectedly takes Alex up on his vow, offering the future Laird of Balforss his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Now a man, hotheaded Alex has difficulty convincing Lucy—who would rather starve to death than marry a vulgar Scot—to go through with the arranged marriage. Once Lucy arrives in Scotland, she cannot resist the magic of Balforss or the allure of her handsome Highland warrior. But when Alex seemingly betrays Lucy right before their wedding, she is tricked into running away. Alex must rein in his temper to rescue his lady from unforeseen danger and Lucy must swallow her pride if she hopes to wed the Highlander she has come to love.
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Delicious finger food teamed up with an equally delicious book! You are multi-talented, Jennifer.
Love this Jennifer,
Some friends and I have been partaking in the afternoon tea and high tea tradition for quite some time. We love using our fancy teacups and china. Always good to have new ideas for sandwiches. One of my standards is olive/nut (a Watts Tea Room specialty)