Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry

Need a wow of a brunch dish? This is it! Ham and cheese encased in crisp buttery puff pastry. Can anything compare to the crackly thousand (yes, thousand) layered buttery puff pastry? Hot, melt-in-your-mouth goodness? The pastry can be purchased but you might want to make your own. A tart salad alongside goes well.  And why not start with Bellinis?

Ingredients
1 lb. puff pastry*
2 T Dijon mustard
¾ lb. good quality ham, cut into a ½-inch dice
½ lb. Gruyere cheese shredded on large holes of box grater
Egg wash made from I egg and 1 T water, beaten

Procedure
Cut 1 lb. piece of puff pastry in half.  Roll out to fit a 10 X 15 baking sheet. Place parchment paper or a silicone mat on the baking sheet. Transfer pastry sheet to baking sheet.  Spread mustard over sheet leaving a 1-inch border.  Evenly spread ham over mustard, also leaving 1-inch border.  Sprinkle cheese on top of ham.
Roll out the other piece of puff pastry to 10 X 15.  Place on top of cheese layer.  With a small sharp knife cut the edges straight.  Press indentations around the edge with the tines of the back of a fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Take out pastry and brush with egg wash.  Cut a few decorative slits to allow steam to escape.  Place cold pastry in hot oven. This gives the pastry a sudden burst of heat giving it a good start to its rise.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed.  Let cool briefly.  Cut into squares and serve.  Makes 6 servings.

*Puff pastry can be purchased.  I strongly recommend the Dufour brand as it is made with butter. Have you tried making your own?  Sure, it takes a while, but it’s fun, therapeutic (Beating the block of butter is a great stress reliever) and very much worth the effort.  Most of the time is inactive.  You just have to be hanging around the house that day.  There’s a quick method and a regular method.  The quick method involves cutting up the butter and working it into the dough, but honestly, I find the regular method not much more work and you get a higher rise from more layers. If you want to make your own, just email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you the recipe and process photos.

Phyllis-Kirigin-269x300These recipes are by Phyllis Kirigin sweetpaprika.wordpress.com  Phyllis is a resident of Croton-on-Hudson and is an avid cook and food blogger.  She loves all things culinary, focusing on using fresh ingredients and promoting local farmers and artisans. She can be reached at [email protected]

 Photo by Michael Kirigin