Cucumber tea sandwiches in various stages of assembly
Photography, Johanna Martin

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

An afternoon tea essential.

If there’s one thing Kitten and the Bear knows, it’s how to throw a tea party: The Toronto tearoom opened it 2013, and has since become so successful that owners Sophie Kaftal and Bobby Zielinksi landed a book deal to share their know-how. “Fresh cucumber finger sandwiches are one of the most traditional of afternoon tea delights,” the pair write in Kitten and the Bear Cookbook: Recipes for Small Batch Preserves, Scones, and Sweets from the Beloved Shop.“The most classic tea sandwich is a simple assembly of white bread lightly coated with butter and layered with slices of cucumber. For our elevated version, we substituted the white bread with brioche, a yeast bread enriched with butter. Freshly chopped spinach and a plethora of herbs whipped into cream cheese can be made quickly and ahead of time.”

Cucumber tea sandwiches in various stages of assembly

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Toronto tearoom Kitten and the Bear shares their recipe for classic cucumber tea sandwiches with a creamy spinach spread.
Course Afternoon Tea, Snack
Servings 10 sandwiches


Spinach Spread

  • 8 oz (227 g) cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup (30 g) roughly chopped baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

Tea Sandwiches

  • 10 slices brioche bread 1 loaf
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened, more to taste


  • Place the cream cheese in a medium bowl and use a rubber spatula to break down and soften the texture. Add the spinach, parsley and dill and gently fold into the cream cheese until uniformly combined.
  • Transfer the spread into a metal strainer set over a medium bowl (the spinach may weep liquid), cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge until ready to use.
  • Stack 2 to 4 slices of bread on top of each other. Using a sharp serrated bread knife with a gentle sawing motion, cut off the crusts. Let the knife do the work and resist the urge to push down on the knife which will lead to pinched edges. Then, cut the stack of bread in half vertically. Continue cutting the pieces of bread, keeping the original stacks to ensure the tops and bottoms of your sandwiches match up perfectly.
  • Cut both ends off the cucumber. Slice the cucumber into 3 to 4 equal lengths, about 3 inches long. Then, using a mandoline (⅓ to ¼-inch setting) or a sharp kitchen knife, thinly slice the cucumber pieces lengthwise into rectangles. You’ll need at least 10 cucumber slices, one for each sandwich. (Use the best, largest centre slices.) Place the cucumber slices between 3 or 4 layers of paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  • Arrange the slices of bread on a large work surface. Keep the tops and bottoms of the bread paired up exactly as you cut them. Spread a thin layer of butter on the top halves. Spread a thick layer of herb spread on the bottom halves, top with a slice of cucumber and then close the sandwiches. Tie with a little piece of twine or strip of parchment paper.

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A book cover in a light frame

Excerpted from Kitten and the Bear, Inc. Copyright © 2024 Kitten and the Bear, Inc. Photography by Johanna Martin. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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