Traditional Afternoon Tea Recipes

  • 01 of 06

    What Is an Afternoon Tea?

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    Afternoon Tea is unmistakably a truly British custom known worldwide, with origins in 19th century England.

     The History of Afternoon Tea credits Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. Dinner was served around 9 pm which left the Duchess hungry and to stave this, she would order tea, bread, and cakes in her room. The habit caught on and afternoon tea was born. 

    A traditional tea starts with finger sandwiches, followed by scones with butter, jam and or cream, then cakes and, of course, tea.

  • 02 of 06

    Simple Sandwiches

    Afternoon tea sandwiches
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    Afternoon tea starts with sandwiches which are usually made with thinly sliced bread and often with the crusts removed. There will usually be both white and brown bread sandwiches.

    Any number of traditional fillings for afternoon tea sandwiches may include:

    • Buttered bread with thinly sliced, cucumber.
    • Thin slices of cooked ham and a little mustard
    • Egg Mayonnaise
    • Coronation Chicken
    • Roast Beef
    • Cheese and Pickle 
    • Tuna
    • Tinned Salmon with or without cucumber
  • 03 of 06

    Scones, Jam, and Cream

    The Spruce

    Super light, warm scones follow on from the sandwiches. The scones can be plain, fruit, or cheese.  Plain or fruit will demand both butter, jam and or cream, and for the cheese, serve alone with butter.

  • 04 of 06

    Delicous Cakes and Tarts

    lemon tart
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    The final course in a traditional afternoon tea is the cake - either slices of a large cake, cupcakes, or small iced buns (also known as Fancies) and depending how hungry or decadent you feel, a slice or two of a tart.

    Try to include some (one or two are enough) of the following:

    Tarts may include:

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    A Few Untraditional Extra Recipes

    Elaine Lemm

    There are traditional recipes for an afternoon tea, and there are, as always, those quirks of local tradition, family customs, or personal taste that involve recipes outside of the norm. Some, often in Scotland, will also include a savory dish, nothing heavy just a snack type dish to balance all the sweetness.

    Recipes to consider:

  • 06 of 06

    The Tea

    Afternoon Tea
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    Britain and Ireland drink more tea than anywhere else in the world and it's no wonder that it's the focus of an afternoon tea. Tea in Britain and Ireland is almost an art form. Sure, there's the throw-the-tea-bag-in-the-cup method, but for those that really appreciate an afternoon tea, getting the drinking part of the tea right is paramount to its success.