One of the best parts about tea sandwiches? The small bite-sized serving makes it the perfect chance to put really interesting flavors together and somehow (the cuteness? the small size?) means people give it a go when they otherwise might not. These sandwiches — made with sweet date paste, fresh mint, and tangy goat cheese on a cheee puff "bun" — are out of the ordinary but totally intriguing.
For the date paste: Combine dates, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan and cook until dates are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir to mash. Cool completely.
Date paste can be made up to 2 days ahead.
To assemble sandwiches: Slice all the gougeres in half so that the can be used like sandwiches. Spread a spoonfull of each the date paste and room temperature on all the sandwiches. Pile a few mint leaves onto each gougere, close with a toothpick, and serve.