This recipe brings together crispy puff pastry with melted Gruyère cheese & black forest ham. Super simple to make, it’s the perfect easy puff pastry appetizer, or enjoy it alongside a salad as a quick meal.
Meet my nemesis: appetizer recipes. Ask me to bring something to a party and I panic. Finger food? Dip? Bruschetta? What the heck do you make?! For some reason, my mind goes completely blank which makes zero sense since I have hundreds of snack and appetizer recipes.
To remedy this, I started experimenting with this crispy ham and cheese puff pastry appetizer recipe by Ina Garten. It’s just like making a sandwich, but a classy one filled with black forest ham and nutty Gruyère cheese. 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 easy appetizer recipe all year round.
You Will Need: Only 5 ingredients
- Puff pastry (I like Trader Joe’s or Dufour)
- Dijon Mustard
- Black forest ham
- Gruyère cheese
- Egg wash, for coating
Puff Pastry Tip: It’s important to choose good-quality, all butter puff pastry. 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 frozen puff pastry in pre-rolled sheets, which is my top pick for convenience.
How to Make It: Step-By-Step
- Spread one half of the puff pastry with Dijon mustard leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.
- Add the ham and sprinkle with cheese.
- Brush the border with egg wash and place the remaining sheet of puff pastry on top.
- Trim the dough to make an even square (it’s just like cutting the crust off of a sandwich). Make sure to cut in a swift downward motion (think paper slicer). If you drag your knife, the dough will not rise properly.
- Brush with more egg wash. Make 3 small slits on the surface for the steam to escape.
- Bake @ 450˚ F for 20-25 minutes.
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. You’re going to love this one- enjoy! PS: try my Easy Apple Tart with Puff Pastry for a sweet dessert.Print
Favorite Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Appetizer Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 12-16 squares
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Oven-Baked
- Cuisine: American
This recipe brings together crispy puff pastry with melted Gruyère cheese & black forest ham. Super simple to make, it’s the perfect easy puff pastry appetizer, or enjoy it alongside a salad as a quick meal. Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.
- 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
Notes & Tips:
*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.
- Preheat your oven to 450 F.
- To make the egg wash, lightly beat an egg with 1 tbsp. of water. Set aside.
- Place a piece of parchment paper onto your work surface and dust lightly with flour.
- Lay one sheet of puff pastry on top of the paper.
- Using the back of a teaspoon, brush the dough with mustard leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Use a ruler if necessary.
- Staying within the border, add the sliced ham in overlapping layers.
- Add the cheese.
- Brush the border with some of the egg wash to create a seal.
- Place the second sheet of puff pastry on top of the filled pastry lining up the edges.
- 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.
- Brush the top with more egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
- Transfer the dough to a baking sheet by lifting up the parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes and cut into squares (about 12-16 depending how large you want them).
- Serve hot.
Keywords: puff pastry appetizer, ham and cheese puff pastry, Ina Garten, appetizer easy recipe
Can this be frozen and cooked/reheated. I am looking at this as a meal with a salad for someone recovering after knee surgery
Lois Martinez says
I love working with puff pastry. You can make so many things with it. I especially like this recipe because it is different. Thanks for sharing.
Emilie Raffa says
You’re very welcome, Lois! It’s one of our favorites, it’s so easy to make, and it’s a HUGE crowd pleaser. Make it exactly as is and you’ll have success every time.
Liane @ Foodie Digital says
Easy and delicious Emilie! Such a simple and tasty appetizer that came together in a flash.
Emilie Raffa says
So glad you liked it Liane! We’ve been making this recipe for years- it’s so easy, and great for parties! I make it every Christmas :)
Hi Emilie, this looks amazing! Would any other cheese work here? Do you have any suggestions?
Emilie Raffa says
Hi Marina! Yes: fontina, cheddar, swiss and/or any other cheese with nice meltability will work.
I tried this recipe over the weekend and it was just as I imagined: deliciously savory, and light. I did find that the edges puffed up much more than anticipated and I’m wondering what I could have done wrong. I used a pizza cutter to trim the edges. Let me know your thoughts, perhaps I didn’t allow the pastry dough to thaw enough?
Hi there! So glad that you enjoyed it! Did you crimp the edges and sides with a fork? I find that when I do this, the edges stay perfectly sealed and do not puff up. Hope this helps!
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.
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 :)
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?
Thank you! Yes! A pizza wheel would be perfect! In fact, it’s preferred :) Enjoy the recipe, it’s one of my favorites.
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!
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.
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!
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 ;)
Emilie, this looks delicious! Could it be made the day before and then baked before serving?
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 :)
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
Laney (Ortensia Blu) says
This looks great! And for breakfast, lunch, dinner OR appetizer…and I’m with you on the appetizer thing…I always offer to bring dessert instead:)
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 ;)
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.
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 :)
Letizia-Friarielli & sound says
Easy and delicious!!
i love your pics!
Oh, you’re so sweet! Thanks so much :) x
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.
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! ;)
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
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 ;)
Maria | Pink Patisserie says
I love how easy this is and how you can serve a crowd without having to prep a bunch of little bites! So beautiful too!
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 :)
Angela Gallagher says
This looks delicious and sooo appetizing! Can’t wait to try it! Best part it looks relatively easy.
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 :)
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Appetizer bliss indeed! I could turn this into dinner quite easily :).
Oh, I know… with a little side salad? Cafe style ;)
Lori at JOY Unspeakable says
Wowie, that looks super beautiful and delicious! I have some puff pastry in my freezer…definitely trying this SOON!
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!