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Walnut Tea Sandwiches inspired by Jane Eyre

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Walnut Tea Sandwiches inspired by Jane Eyre

Walnut Tea Sandwiches inspired by <i>Jane Eyre</i>
Nina Gallant
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total prep
John Montague, the Earl of Sandwich, devoted his life to gambling and would often remain at the gaming table for hours. He is credited with inventing the sandwich in 1762, when he ordered servants to bring him slices of bread, meat, and cheese, and he layered them to prevent his cards from becoming greasy.

We adapted a recipe for tea sandwiches that Cheryl McHugh of Antioch, California, has made for her East Country Mother’s Club, a recipe she found on “Charlotte Bronte drew the reader into the life of Jane Eyre,” says McHugh. With bread and cream cheese, you may indulge your book club with these delicate sandwiches, of which Mr. Brocklehurst would never have approved.

Recipe courtesy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelmen & Vicki Levy Krupp, 2012. Published by Tarcher an imprint of Penguin.


  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (adjust amount to taste)
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 24 slices best-quality white bread, preferably thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature


  • In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, walnuts, parsley, and bell pepper. Add the onion, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for one hour to allow flavors to blend.
  • Spread one side of each piece of bread lightly with butter. Top the buttered side of 12 of the slices with the cream cheese mixture and cover each with another slice of bread, buttered side down. Carefully cut off the crusts with a sharp knife. Cut each sandwich diagonally into quarters. Serves 10 to 12.

  • NOTE: For these sandwiches, the bread should be thin, but experiment with different varieties. Our testers preferred Pepperidge Farm thinly sliced bread, and thought a combination of white and wheat was tasty and appealing. Cover sandwiches loosely with waxed paper, then drape a damp kitchen towel over the waxed paper and refrigerate to prevent them from drying out. Prepare the sandwiches as close to serving time as possible.