Classic cucumber tea sandwiches are easy to make, soft and creamy, and a perfect dainty little bite to serve at tea time!
We are at the end of our first week of back-to-school and I'm really happy to see the weekend.
Both kids have been doing great! J, my youngest, started kindergarten and has had a really fun first week at his new school.
M, my daughter, is in 3rd grade but moved to a new school this year, so I was also holding my breath for her and hoping all went well.
She already loves her new school, is making friends, has an amazing teacher, and is happy, happy. 😊
I couldn't ask for more! Except a weekend to recover from the chaos! I'm waffling between packing it full of all kinds of family fun - amusement park, pool time, bowling and more - and letting us all just chill and be lazy, playing Lego's, doing puzzles, reading books and watching movies.
Maybe something in the middle. We shall see...
But now, let’s get to the reason for today’s teatime recipe.
I recently got a copy of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, which has been expanded and updated with new photography.
The re-release is perfect, too, as the Downton Abbey MOVIE is coming out soon!! I’m so excited!
So in honor of the Downton Abbey premiere (which is Sept. 20 here in the U.S. if you’re counting down the days), I wanted to share a fun recipe from the cookbook.
And while the Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb and Lobster Thermidor recipes sounded amazing, um, that’s not going to be happening in my kitchen.
Instead, we’re keeping it simple, keeping it classic and keeping in line with what I would actually love to have at a little pre-movie party.
These classic cucumber tea sandwiches!
First though, a few fun quips and facts from the cookbook that I found interesting…
Legend has it afternoon tea originated with one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, who noticed the Queen often felt hungry around 4 p.m. She began to serve tea with a few breadstuffs and soon, teatime had taken over England.
A true tea sandwich has the crusts removed only after the sandwich has been prepared and not before.
A courteous hostess doesn’t ask if her guests want another cup of tea. She continues to refill their cups until they say they have had enough.
It is not proper etiquette to hold a teacup with the pinkie finger extended. It should be tucked in and curved back toward the wrist.
Who knew?! I did cotillion when I was growing up, but I apparently need to brush up on my etiquette lessons before I go to tea.
Really though, the only tea time I’m likely to go to anytime soon is the kind I do with my kids.
My daughter has a cute little tea set that my mom got for her, and both she and my son love pulling it out and filling every single container up with water to pour and play with.
We rarely have actual food to go along with it, but I’m thinking that may change now that I’ve rediscovered these easy cucumber sandwiches!
Tea time every weekend! ❤️
Final fun fact: My parents have visited the actual castle — Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England — on a trip a couple of years ago. They said it was stunning!
Now, I’ve got some notes and substitutions coming up below. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on cucumber tea sandwiches:
- A regular cucumber or an English cucumber will work here. Just be sure to peel it and take out the extra seeds before using it. (And you would only need about ½ of a large English cucumber. And yes, even seedless cucumbers have seeds. Take those out.)
- You can garnish the inside of the sandwiches with the extra dill sprigs, as the original recipe suggests, or use them to garnish your serving plate.
- This recipe makes 24 triangle shaped tea sandwiches. You can expect that to serve about 10 people, so feel free to make more or less as needed.
And if you’ve been around here for long, you know I had to find a few ways to lighten these up. 😊
I mean, tea time to me sounds like delicate little noshes, not a super heavy snack.
(Though really, a cucumber sandwich couldn’t be a heavy snack even if it tried.)
Anyway, I wanted to share my lightened up tricks.
How to make healthier cucumber tea sandwiches:
- Choose a whole wheat bread or white wheat bread.
- Use reduced fat or light mayo.
- Use a reduced fat cream cheese.
I wouldn’t recommend a fat free cream cheese, since those lack much flavor, but the ⅓ reduced fat kind is fine. (And that’s actually what I used here.)
Also, while I often sub Greek yogurt for mayo in things like chicken salad, I don’t recommend that here.
Finally, while you would want to serve these tea sandwiches fresh and the day that they are made - as that’s most proper - the extras do keep well in the fridge for a few days.
They’re great for a quick snack or for a light lunch paired with a bowl of soup or a salad.
Whether or not you love Downton Abbey, I hope you give these dainty little sandwiches a try! (And do check out the cookbook - it has more than 150 other great recipes for every meal, from both upstairs and downstairs!)
P.S. Need some other tea time foods? Check these out:
- Spinach cheddar scones (Family Food on the Table)
- Healthy strawberry scones (Family Food on the Table)
- Jam tarts (The Dough Hook)
- Smoked salmon tea sandwich (Billy Parisi)
- Creamy shrimp salad (served in phyllo cups) (Family Food on the Table)
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- 24 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 12 sprigs dill, for garnish
- Blend cream cheese and mayonnaise in a blender until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Combine the cream cheese mixture with cucumber, dill, pepper and garlic salt. Mix well.
- Spread the mixture on top of 12 pieces of bread, garnish with dill sprigs and cover with remaining 12 slices of bread to create sandwiches. Cut into triangle halves or into triangle quarters.
- Serve and enjoy!
A regular cucumber or an English cucumber will work here. Just be sure to peel it and take out the extra seeds before using it. (And you would only need about ½ of a large English cucumber.)
You can use reduced-fat cream cheese and a low-fat or light mayo if desired.
You can garnish the inside of the sandwiches with the extra dill sprigs or use them to garnish your serving plate.
This recipe makes 24 triangle-shaped tea sandwiches. You can expect that to serve about 10 people, so feel free to make more or less as needed.
Recipe excerpted from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition by Emily Ansara Baines. Copyright 2012, 2014, 2019 © Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.
Serving Size:2 sandwich halves
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 384mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g