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Finger foods for tea...40 people

I've been deemed responsible for the buffet table at an afternoon tea. Its potluck for 35 or 40 people so I don't have to prepare everything but curious if anyone had great ideas on dished to share? Thanks!

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    1. For our tea (but for a lot fewer people: 8), we made a variety of sandwiches cut into triangles and rectangles like egg salad, watercress; apricot scones (which I think I've posted or mentioned in the past?), lemon squares, banana bread, fruit, salad, and a guest brought an onion tart.

      If you want to make some things, I suggest bars and breads which you can prepare and then cut into individual servings, while buying the more labor intensive type things such as individual quiches or tartlets. And a mix of both sweets and savories. And to make sure there are non meat options in case of vegetarians.

      3 Replies
      1. re: content

        A good starting point might be those frozen pastry puff "cups" that you can fill with any combination of things. I like to fill mine with chicken strips and pesto, but I'm not sure how that would work for a tea. Both sweet and savory fillings for the cups would work.

        1. re: danikm

          Fill cups with feta mixed with a little mascarapone; top w/ caramelized onions and bake.

        2. re: content

          I agree with the sandwiches -- people love finger food at parties, and fancy little sandwiches are perfect for a tea. However, I prefer slightly less traditional fillings -- I really love fig and gorgonzola on grainy or date nut bread, smoked salmon on black bread (traditional Irish, but not as a tea sandwich), tiny paninis which can easily be made with meat or all roasted veggies... and as content said, it's helpful if you make things that are big and you can cut up, so if you can find large sliced bread (perhaps if you go to an actual bakery they can slice the bread longways) you can save yourself some grief.

        3. My only thing with tea sandwiches -- and I am a big fan when served right -- is when they sit around for any amount of time the bread dries out. Sliced baguette holds up a bit more -- options are limitless here obviously but goat cheese, basil and grilled red pepper or Proscutto and good butter are two easy and tasty ones. Asparagus works well -- can be served room temp and easy to eat in the hand. Little potatoes topped with creme-fraiche and lumpfish caviar. Deviled eggs are delicious and, in my experience tend to go fast, but will dry out if left sitting around too long. Scones served with cream and cut up strawberries on the side. Mini-quiches (as suggested above) are tastey and not really that bad to make in terms of taking up time. Like the puff-pasty suggestion as well -- did some smore-variety with peanut butter, marshmallows and chocolate which were tasty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bite bite

            you have to butter the bread - no matter what you are putting on it. that's the trick to it not drying out. and cover with damp paper towels until serving.

            i buy pepperidge farm extra thin sandwich bread in white and wheat (and sometimes find the loaves of baby pumpernickel slices) and cut off the crusts, butter, and then top with many different things.

            i LOVE tea sandwiches and have thrown many teas in my lifetime. my mom & i had a mother daughter one every year starting when i was 18 or so... they are so fun if done right - but i agree with pikawicca below. if it's really an afternoon tea you should only serve certain foods.

          2. Flaky biscuits (split into thirds) make a great canape base. Pizza sauce & mozzarella, etc. Enjoy!

            1. The traditional approach would be very small sandwiches (watercress, cucumber, smoked salmon, egg) with several sliced English-style cakes. Scones with clotted cream (or whipped cream) and jam would be nice. Keep in mind that the beverage is black tea, so strongly ethnic flavors might not work. Can't imagine eating gorgonzola/prosciutto bruschetta with tea, for example.