ham + cheese puff pastry

ham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrot

Meet my nemesis; appetizers.

Ask me to bring something to a party and I panic.

Finger food? Dip? Bruschetta? What the heck do I make?! For some reason, my mind goes completely blank.

To remedy this, I started experimenting with this ham and cheese pastry by Ina Garten. It’s just like making a sandwich, but a classy one filled with black forest ham and Gruyère. It’s baked until puffed and golden, and then cut into squares (brilliant, if you ask me). Served warm, these scrumptious bites need nothing more than a cold cocktail in hand.

It is my go-to dish for the holiday season.

ham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrot

Start with good quality puff pastry. If you’re going to indulge, go for the real thing; all butter. Some brands contain hydrogenated oils (+ other scary ingredients you cannot pronounce) so all natural is best. Defrost overnight in the fridge before you begin.

You can also buy puff pastry in pre-rolled sheets.

To assemble, smear one half with Dijon mustard leaving a 1-inch border around the edge (yes, that is a ruler).

Add the ham and sprinkle with cheese.

ham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrotham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrot

Brush the border with egg wash to create a seal. My pastry brush went rogue, so I used a scrunched up paper towel instead- works totally fine. Place the remaining sheet of dough on top.

Using a sharp knife, trim the dough so that the edges line up and the square is even. It’s just like cutting the crust off of a sandwich. Make sure to cut the dough in a swift downward motion (think paper slicer). If you drag your knife, it will not rise properly.

ham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrot

Brush with more egg wash.

Make 3 small slits in the top so that the steam can escape while baking.

ham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrot

25 minutes later…

ham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrotham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrotham + cheese puff pastry | The Clever Carrot

Welcome to appetizer bliss.

What I like about this recipe, is that when you cut the pastry into squares the cheese doesn’t ooze out all over the place. Gruyère doesn’t melt like mozzarella so everything stays pretty much in tact. There’s nothing worse than people standing around with cheese hanging out of their mouth! The trick is to not overstuff the pastry and to keep the ingredients in proportion. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Puff pastry sheets are available in the frozen section of most grocery stores. If you cannot find them, you can use a whole block of dough instead. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough and cut it into two sheets measuring approximately 10 x 12 inches (use a ruler if necessary). Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
ham + cheese puff pastry
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12-16 squares
Ingredients
  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted*
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ pound black forest ham, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • flour for dusting
*Defrost overnight in the fridge before you begin.
**Puff pastry sheets are available in the frozen section of most grocery stores. If you cannot find them, you can use a whole block of dough instead. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough and cut it into two sheets measuring approximately 10 x 12 inches (use a ruler if necessary). Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 F.
  2. To make the egg wash, lightly beat an egg with 1 tbsp. of water. Set aside.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper onto your work surface and dust lightly with flour.
  4. Lay one sheet of puff pastry on top of the paper.
  5. Using the back of a teaspoon, brush the dough with mustard leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Use a ruler if necessary.
  6. Staying within the border, add the sliced ham in overlapping layers.
  7. Add the cheese.
  8. Brush the border with some of the egg wash to create a seal.
  9. Place the second sheet of puff pastry on top of the filled pastry lining up the edges.
  10. Using a sharp knife, trim the dough so that the edges line up and the square is even. It’s just like cutting the crust off of a sandwich. Make sure to cut the dough in a swift downward motion (think paper slicer). If you drag your knife, it will not rise properly. Press down lightly.
  11. Brush the top with more egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  12. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet by lifting up the parchment paper.
  13. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  14. Allow to cool for a few minutes and cut into squares (about 12-16 depending how large you want them).
  15. Serve hot.

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Comments

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Joy! Thank you so much :) This is a really easy recipe to put together and definitely a crowd pleaser. I hope you like it!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Angela! Yes- it is quite easy to assemble. It’s just like making a sandwich! You could even prepare it ahead of time and keep it covered (plastic wrap) in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. Brush with egg wash and pop it in the oven! Enjoy :)

    • Emilie says

      It’s funny, because when I think of appetizers I envision a bunch of little things. And then when it comes down it, I never make them! This is soooo much easier- just one big square cut into pieces. You can even change up the filling too :)

  1. says

    Em, this is a VERY good idea, thank you! I have to bake for two Christmas street parties this year – I think this might be a great idea for one of them! Merry Christmas, love! xx

    • Emilie says

      Thanks Celia! I highly recommend making this- it’s great for parties. You can prep the whole thing in advance, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Brush with the egg wash and bake! I’ve played around with different fillings as well. I bet you could make a lovely vegetarian version with goodies from your garden ;)

  2. Pam Green says

    Yes, yes and YES! This looks straightforward enough for me to not mess up and absolutely delicious! What a great brunch, lunch or app idea.

    • Emilie says

      Ha ha… I’m pretty sure you won’t mess this up Pam!!! Have fun playing with the recipe. And for brunch? Now, why didn’t I think of that?! Great idea! ;)

  3. Patrick Stanfill says

    Dear Emilie, thanks so much for the recipe. I made a sauté vegetable and bacon version of this last night for a cocktail party and it was a complete hit! You never disappoint.

    • Emilie says

      Patrick- your veg & bacon version sounds FANTASTIC!!! I’m so glad that it was a hit. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment :)

    • Emilie says

      Yeah, and my husband has been eating it cold out of the fridge! How’s that for breakfast?! I offer to bring dessert too… great minds ;)

  4. says

    Oh my gosh. This looks INCREDIBLE! Just found the link via Pink Patisserie, loving all that you’ve created here Emilie! I don’t know why I’ve never thought of doing a ham and cheese sammich in puff pastry before. Genius. Thanks for the inspiration! xx

    • Emilie says

      Hi there! Thank you Andrea!!! You know, I’ve never done it one day in advance but I don’t see why not. I would place it on a parchment lined baking tray, wrap it nicely in plastic wrap (so that it doesn’t dry out) and refrigerate. Only brush with egg wash before baking (this way it won’t get soggy on the overnight). Hope this helps! Enjoy :)

  5. Sam says

    I made this on Saturday and it was fantastic “football food”. It was a pretty tasty leftover for lunch the next day with some tomato soup too. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Sam! You know, it never even occurred to me that this would work as football snack! When I wrote the recipe, I was in holiday appetizer mode so that was my main focus. However, you suggestion sounds absolutely wonderful! Thank you for letting me know ;)

  6. Kefalonitis says

    Ευχαριστώ (thank you) Emilie,

    What a great idea! One of my favorite pastries is tiropita, can eat a whole baking pan as a meal. So when I saw your recipe I said, mum maybe it will work? So of course I tried combining your version to tiropita and wow, it worked, very delicious and the ham added the meaty flavor that I always felt missing from tiropita.

    Great recipes Emilie, thank you.

  7. Sophia says

    I really want to make this with some homemade puff pastry and I was wondering can I use cheddar cheese? It looks super good and I can’t wait to make it!

  8. Kathy Schneider says

    Hello Emilie, I recently signed up to your fabulous website. I love your recipes. I was wondering can you cut this with a pizza cutter as well as a sharp knife?

    • Emilie says

      Hello Kathy,

      Thank you! Yes! A pizza wheel would be perfect! In fact, it’s preferred :) Enjoy the recipe, it’s one of my favorites.

  9. Nicky Draves says

    Did you get a response from person who made this a day ahead and then baked it. If so, did it turn out just as good? Would appreciate response asap so I can make it for an “out to lunch bunch” this week. Thank you so much.

    • Emilie says

      Hello Nicky! To make this in advance: assemble as per the recipe instructions, leaving out the eggs wash. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate over night. The following day, brush with egg wash and bake. It works for me! PS- I make this on Christmas Eve and bake in the morning to bring to all of the holiday festivities. Very easy and everyone loves it :)

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