Pretty Garnishes

Cucumber Pinwheel Sandwiches


1 medium cucumber, unpeeled

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon dried whole dillweed

1 (1-pound) loaf unsliced sandwich bread

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 small cucumber


Shred cucumber; pat shredded cucumber between absorbent paper towels to remove excess moisture. Combine cucumber, cream cheese, blue cheese, milk, and dillweed, mixing well.

Trim crust from loaf of bread, making an even rectangle. Slice bread horizontally into 6 even slices. Roll each slice with a rolling pin to flatten. Spread one side of each slice with 1 teaspoon butter, and spread cucumber filling evenly over butter. Roll up tightly, jellyroll fashion, beginning at short end.

Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, cut chilled rolls into 1/2-inch slices.

Score small cucumber with the tines of a fork. Cut 9 (1/4-inch) slices from cucumber, and cut slices into quarters. Reserve remaining cucumber for other uses. Insert a cucumber wedge, point side down, in top center of each sandwich for garnish.

Yield: 3 dozen

Chicken-Salad Finger Sandwiches


1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 (1-pound) loaf unsliced sandwich bread

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 (4-ounce) container whipped cream cheese, softened

8 tomato roses made from large cherry tomatoes

Sprigs of fresh dill

8 small green onion fans

8 strips of pimiento

3 whole canned pimientos

Green onion tops


Combine chicken, celery, eggs, relish, salt, and pepper, tossing well. Stir in mayonnaise; cover and chill.

Trim crust from loaf of bread, making bread an even rectangle. Slice loaf horizontally into 8 (3 1/3-inch) slices. Lightly spread softened butter on one side of each slice. Spread chicken salad evenly over butter on 4 slices; top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side down.

Spread cream cheese evenly on tops of sandwiches. Slice each large sandwich rectangle into 6 finger sandwiches. Cover with a damp paper towel, then plastic wrap; chill sandwiches until ready to serve.

Just before serving, garnish tops of 8 sandwiches with cherry tomato roses and sprigs of fresh dill; top of 8 with small green onion fans and strips of pimiento; and tops of remaining 8 pimiento flowers cut from whole pimiento using canape cutters. (use green onion tops for stems and leaves).

Yield: 2 dozen

Almond Tea Tarts


1 egg

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons orange juice

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Tea Tart Shells

3 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted

3 tablespoons apricot preserves

About 5 maraschino cherries, quartered


Beat egg at medium speed of an electric mixer until thick and lemon colored. Add sugar, orange rind, juice, and almond extract, mixing until blended.

Spoon mixture into prepared Tea Tart Shells. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until top is firm. Let cool in tart pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans.

Arrange sliced almonds in a ring, flower fashion, on top of filling.

Heat apricot preserves over low heat until melted, stirring often; press preserves through a sieve to remove large pieces. Spoon warm preserves evenly over almonds. Top each with a cherry quarter.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen tarts

Tea Tart Shells

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt; cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle cold water (1 tablespoon at a time) evenly over surface; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape into a ball; chill.

Divide dough into 18 equal portions. Gently press dough into 1 3/4-inch tart pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

Snow-Capped Madeleines


3 eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Powdered sugar


Beat eggs and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar, and beat 15 minutes at high speed of an electric mixer or until thick and lemon colored. Gently fold in flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, and orange rind. Fold in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Spoon butter evenly into greased and floured madeleine molds. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from molds, and cool on a wire rack, flat side down. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Yield: 2 dozen

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