Tea sandwiches are thin, crustless sandwiches generally cut into relatively small pieces. They should not be stuffed with an abundance of fillings, but instead should be dainty and delicate. Nevertheless, the fillings should be flavourful and interesting. The term finger sandwiches refers to tea sandwiches cut in a specific way. Tea sandwiches sliced lengthwise, generally into thirds, are finger sandwiches -- while tea sandwiches cut any other way, such as diagonally or into square quarters, are simply tea sandwiches.
Lay out all of your slices of bread. You need two slices for every three finger sandwiches, so you will need 20 slices of bread to make 30 finger sandwiches.
Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter, margarine or cream cheese. This is especially important when you are making the sandwiches ahead of time. This layer helps keep the moisture from the fillings from soaking into the bread and leaving it damp and soggy.
Place the fillings of your choice on half of the pieces of bread. You can make several different kinds of finger sandwiches, or stick to one particular favourite. Feel free to get creative in this step. Your finger sandwiches should be thin, flavourful and savoury rather than sweet. Beyond that, you can use your imagination. Try curried chicken with raisins or smoked salmon with chives. Spread the fillings all the way to the edge of each slice of bread you are covering.
Place the slices of bread that are not topped with fillings onto the filling-topped slices. The margarine, butter or cream cheese-coated side should be facedown on the fillings.
Store the sandwiches in a sealed airtight glass or plastic container. Do not stuff them into the container or pack them so high that the bottom layer gets crushed. Separate each layer with waxed paper, then cover the top layer with waxed paper and slightly damp paper towels. Place the container in the refrigerator.
Remove the sandwiches from the refrigerator one to two hours before you wish to serve them. Lay them out on a cutting board and cut off the crusts with a sharp serrated knife. Cut each sandwich into thirds to create finger-shaped sandwiches.
Allow the butter, margarine or cream cheese to come to room temperature before spreading it on the bread. This will help you spread it more easily.
Do not make the sandwiches more than a day in advance. This can lead to soggy bread and stale fillings. Don't make sandwiches with lettuce, cucumber and tomato in advance. Instead, assemble these sandwiches without the lettuce, cucumber or tomato and simply add these items just before cutting the sandwiches.