This recipe’s name is long but the result is super cute and worth the effort! And, they’re perfect for entertaining because all the parts — the date paste, gougeres, and cheese — can be prepared ahead of time. That means all you have to do is assemble them as your party starts and you’re all set!
What Is A Tea Sandwich?
To be clear, these are not traditional tea sandwiches. Also known as finger sandwiches, tea sandwiches are able to be eaten in a few bites. They came about as light afternoon snack but are a go-to for traditional parties like showers and spring brunches.
Here our tea sandwiches use Gougères (aka French cheese puffs) as a bun and get piled with a sweet, tart, herb combination of date spread, fresh goat cheese, and mint. If you don’t want to make Gougeres, we get it. You can just assemble them on white sandwich bread as you would with traditional tea sandwiches instead!
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.
What Is Date Spread?
Okay, there are a lot of different foods out there that go by date spread. Some people use it to refer to a twist on nut butter made with 100% dates. Others use it as a synonym to date paste or date caramel. But we’re referring to the condiment that you see in mid century cookbooks. It’s a simple date and nut blend that adds a sweet, nutty note and is great on anything from ham sandwiches to these tea sandwiches.
How To Make This Recipe
Make The Date Spread.
The date spread can be made well ahead of time so no need to make it last minute! Any sort of pitted date can be used to make the date spread but we mostly use Medjool dates or Deglet Noor dates grown right here in California!
Whip The Goat Cheese.
You can use fresh goat cheese or cream cheese to make these sandwiches. So long as it’s soft enough to be spreadable you’re all set. However, if you want to level up, go ahead and whip the goat cheese by putting the cheese in a mini food processor with a few tablespoons of milk and processing it until its airy and light.
Assemble Ahead Of Time.
Make all the parts of these sandwiches up to one day ahead of time and then all you have to do is assemble them at the start of your party.
Mint, Date, And Goat Cheese Gougères Tea Sandwiches
For The Date Spread:
- 1 cup raw pecans or almonds or walnuts
- 8 ounces Medjool dates pitted
- 3/4 cup cold water
- Juice of 1 lemon or orange
For The Tea Sandwiches:
- 1 recipe Gougères made without pancetta and thyme (30 gougeres total)
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh goat cheese (aka chèvre) or cream cheese at room temperature
- 60 fresh mint leaves
- Make The Date Spread: Combine nuts, dates, water, lemon juice or orange juice in a small saucepan and cook until dates are soft, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and stir to combine.Either leave as is, or, if you want a smoother spread, place it in a mini food processor and process until smooth and even. Cool completely.TIP: Date paste can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store refrigerated in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before using.
- Assemble The Tea Sandwiches: Slice all the gougères in half so that the can be used like sandwiches. Spread a spoon full of each the date paste and room temperature goat cheese or cream cheese on all the sandwiches. Pile a few mint leaves onto each gougère, close with a toothpick, and serve.