How to make a pyramid of party sandwiches

A pyramid of sandwiches makes an inviting individual serving. Each has a different filling spread between cutouts of white and brown bread. The top bite-sized sandwich is crisp watercress leaves between herb-buttered bread; the second, thin slices of smoked salmon on bread spread with softened cream cheese; the third, slices of seedless cucumbers between dill-buttered bread and on the bottom, a finely chopped creamy egg salad filling.

If thin-sliced bread is not available, lay regular bread slices, with crusts trimmed, on a flat surface and roll lightly with a rolling pin until slightly more than 1/4-inch thick.

For one pyramid sandwich, you will need 4 cutters, plain or scalloped, graduating in size from 3 inches to 11/2 inches. Cut 4 bread rounds, one of each size, from thin brown bread and one of each size from thin white bread. Add fillings between corresponding circles of bread and stack to serve.

The only trick in making a lot of sandwiches is keeping count of the white and brown rounds so you have an equal number of each size and as little waste of bread as possible. Scraps may be dried and whirred in a blender to make bread crumbs for another use.

Vary fillings if you wish but keep in mind that the contrast of colors and textures is important to the prettiness as well as the taste of the sandwiches.

For a less expensive sandwich you can substitute thin-sliced ham with mustard butter or sliced cherry tomatoes with herb mayonnaise for the salmon. Or use homemade pimiento cheese spread for the egg layer.

Sandwiches may be made several hours ahead, covered with a lightly dampened, not soaking wet, tea towel, and refrigerated until about a half hour before serving time. Keep sandwiches covered with the towel until just before serving.

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