Saturday, June 26, 2010

Party Sandwich Loaf

Party Sandwich Loaf
(also called "Ribbon" Sandwich)

Dedicated to the memory of my dear friend,
Ann-Britt Ingeborg Blomstedt

Serves approximately 20

One loaf unsliced rye or pumpernickel bread
One loaf unsliced wheat or white bread
Loaves should be approximately the same size and shape.

Suggested sandwich fillings:
chicken salad
egg salad
deviled ham salad (diced ham, mayonnaise and relish)

16 oz. Softened Philadelphia style cream cheese
(2 8 oz. pkg cream cheese)

green olives with pimentos, sliced across center so that each slice has a red center
black olives, sliced
optional: one scallion and carrot, or a few radishes

Turn each bread loaf on its side. Cut in half by slicing evenly through the center of the side.
Then quarter by slicing in the same direction through the two halves. When reassembling the loaf upright, the four layers of each loaf will align like a layer cake. However, when assembling into the sandwich loaf, use two quarter slices from each of the two loaves.

Although there will be enough bread to make 2 sandwich loaves, one usually suffices, unless preparing for a large crowd (more than 20 people). Tightly wrap unused bread slices. Store in freezer.

Place bottom layer from the dark loaf on a serving platter.
Spread a layer of ham salad across layer of bread.
Place second to bottom light bread layer on top of ham salad. Press down slightly.
Spread egg salad over second layer of the light bread.
Place second to top dark bread slice on top of egg salad. Press down slightly.
Spread chicken salad across layer of dark bread slice.
Place top layer of crusted light bread slice on top, pressing down slightly.

There will be four remaining loaf slices to create a second sandwich loaf in reverse order of the first. If preparing two sandwich loaves the lighter colored quarter loaf slice will be the bottom layer. Alternate light with dark with sandwich fillings in between, as in first loaf.

Even up bread loaf edges if necessary and make sure fillings are secure between bread slices, not bulging out at edges.
Spread room-temperature, softened cream cheese evenly covering top and four sides of sandwich loaf.

This generally takes close to 2 pkg of Philadelphia cream cheese. There may be a small amount left over. The important thing is to completely cover the loaf, as one would frost a cake.


Simple garnish:
Garnish with alternating sliced green and black olives in a single row around the top perimeter of the sandwich loaf.

Fancy garnish: Cut scallion the long way creating one long sliver with several shorter ones from the greenest part of the scallion. Arrange on top of cream cheese spread in a stem with leaves-like design. Use shorter slivers from the scallion's green section. Arrange so they curve out from long scallion piece. Clean, peel and trim one carrot. Using a vegetable peeler make several long thin carrot “peels”. Roll these into tight curls. Place toothpicks through layers of each curl. Place in bowl with ice cold water. Refrigerate - carrot will retain its curl after a few hours in refrigerator. Place carrot curls together in a circle (remove toothpicks) at the end of each or the stems, creating a flower-like garnish.


Clean and trim radishes. Using a sharp knife make 4 – 5 symmetrical cuts around the edge of the radish from top down to about a third of the way into the radish. Place in a small container with ice cold water. Refrigerate. Radish edges will curl outward – flower-like.

Arrange radishes at ends of scallion leaves, For a balanced design arrange two sets of the flower designs by placing each set of “flowers, stems and leaves” in opposite directions from each end of the loaf. Top of each “flower should curve inward before the bottom of the opposite stem.

Place a few toothpicks into the corner and around the edges of olive centers. Cover with plastic wrap so it touches the tops of the toothpicks and not the top of the loaf. This will protect the delicate cream cheese and garnish. Refrigerate for a least one hour before serving. The cream cheese will become firm and the loaf will be easier to slice. Cut slices with a cerated bread knife using the conventional bread-slicing method. Each slice will display the four layers of striped bread and fillings. Serve with a cake knife.

This sandwich loaf can be a time-consuming endeavor, especially when one bakes the bread and mixes the fillings from scratch, however, there are some shortcuts: buying whole bread loaves and sandwich fillings from a deli, approximately ½ - ¾ pound (depending on the loaf size) for each layer. Spreading the cream cheese does take a little bit of time along with the fancy garnishes.

I have often considered all the variations for sandwich fillings, but have not as yet tried many. I once tried chicken salad, egg salad and paté, but not everyone loves paté.

This is a versatile party loaf with many filling variations. Whatever combinations seem appealing will most likely work.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

NOTES: I learned to make this sandwich loaf from my friend, Ann-Britt's mother, Anna, when I lived in Chicago. Because the Blomstedts emigrated from Sweden, I figured this was a traditional Swedish specialty, but I have never had this sandwich loaf any place other than Anna's.

I have made it for special occasions: Once for my friend,Blythe's wedding reception and for my godson, Ken's christening luncheon. It may take a bit of time to prepare this, but this one goes a long way in terms of serving a lot of people and being a party pleaser. And taking time and care is usually the a major ingredient that produces many great gastronomical delights. Once they've partaken, people do not forget this one – that is for sure!

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