Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie

I’ve got New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day duties to tend to.  By duties, I mean that people will be coming to my house expecting to eat and drink delicious things, and… I have a reputation to maintain.  This holiday is about celebrating!  It’s about remembrance and hope, love and champagne.  It’s not about being the hostess with the mostess, as much as it’s about being the hostess with the most streamers and bubbly.

Continue reading Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie at Joy the Baker.

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

I’ve got New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day duties to tend to.  By duties, I mean that people will be coming to my house expecting to eat and drink delicious things, and… I have a reputation to maintain.  This holiday is about celebrating!  It’s about remembrance and hope, love and champagne.  It’s not about being the hostess with the mostess, as much as it’s about being the hostess with the most streamers and bubbly.

Sidenote:  I wish I could teach my cat to do something useful… like, wash champagne flutes.

In the absence of a dishwashing cat, I’m keeping things simple and festive for the holiday.  Simple yet totally impressive.

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Puff pastry is the key to all things simple and impressive.  Fancy mustard, ham, and good cheese are just a bonus.

Delicious bonus.

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

It’s really important to use all-butter puff pastry for this recipe.

Any puff pastry that doesn’t boast about its all-butterness is made of weirdo fats that just aren’t cool.

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

Puff pastry is thawed, but still cold… and rolled out just slightly.

Oh!  My puff pastry is usually rectangular.  This round puff pastry was a surprise.  This recipe will work both round and rectangle shaped.  Go with what ya got!

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

Egg wash.  Whole grain honey mustard.  Thinly sliced Black Forest Ham.

I’m so satisfied with myself.

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Scratch that.  Now I’m satisfied with myself.

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

Here’s what’s so clever about this recipe:  it’s a total make-ahead situation.

The puff pastry can be thawed and assembled (just like above), and then placed in the fridge overnight.  When you wake up on New Year’s Day, you can brush this with egg wash and toss it in the oven.  Almost instant brunch.  Add an egg.  Call it success.

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

Humble pie.

Oh how you are filled with beautiful mustard, salty ham, and creamy cheese.

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

This dish is wonderfully simple and gloriously make-ahead.  Because this pie highlights just a few ingredients, I like to use the best ingredients I can find/afford.  All-butter puff pastry is a luxury  and so worth the splurge.  Whole grain mustard pops with flavor.  Black Forest Ham and Gruyere cheese were meant to be married for life.  It’s simple, because delicious doesn’t have to be complicated.

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie

serves 6

inspired by Ina Garten

Print this Recipe!

1 package (2 sheets) all-butter puff pastry, defrosted but still cold

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup whole grain mustard

1/2 pound thinly sliced Black Forest Ham

1/4 to 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced (depending on how much cheese you like)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet, or round pizza pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Unfold or unroll one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface.  Gently roll with a rolling pin until each side is increased by about 1/2-inch.  This is just a light rolling.  Place the  pastry on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush pastry, from edge to edge with egg wash.  Spread mustard atop the egg wash, leaving 1/2-inch of space between the mustard and the edge of pastry.  Layer on ham slices.  Top with sliced cheese.

Gently roll out the second piece of puff pastry.  Layer on top of the ham and cheese pastry.  Press the edges together with your fingers.  Gently fold about 1/2-inch of the edges over, creating and thick crust.  Press with the tines of a fork.  Dip the fork in flour if the fork sticks to the puff pastry during pressing.

Brush with egg wash from edge to edge.  Use a sharp knife to cut three venting holes through the top pastry.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm.  

 

French Onion Pastry Puffs

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

There are two phrases that when placed together make me rrreeaaalllyy nervous:  “It’s cool.  There’s a method to my madness.”

No.  There seems to be no method at all.  Mostly I just think that your pot is about to boil over, you’re about to burn me and everyone in the room with that hot glue gun, please put that staple gun down, and your new parallel parking technique is totally not working out.

I say this with kindness… mostly because I’m talking to myself.  If you ever hear me say “there’s a method to my madness” you should run, because the oven is probably about to explode.  Wait… maybe there is a method.

Mostly there’s just a madness to my madness.  Let’s be real.

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

Original photography shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR. The filmmaker’s camera.

I assume that there’s going to be a method to your Thanksgiving meal-prep madness this week.  It’s totally a balancing act.  The turkey goes in at a certain hour.  The basting is thorough and often.  The mashed potatoes will have extra butter.  Someone will burn the marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole (most likely my sister).  It’s all so precarious.

These French Onion Pastry Puffs are my effort to help you get ahead.  They’re little appetizer bites that can be made ahead of time and kept frozen until ready to bake.

They are like little flakey biscuits with French Onion Soup filling inside.  Soooo delicious.  When eaten in moderation they should not at all interfere with mashed potato and stuffing consumption.

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

Onions + salt and pepper + a big pinch of sugar + butter and olive oil + fresh thyme + beef broth (or beer or wine or whatevs).

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

The smell of onion cooking in butter and olive oil could be a perfume.  You’d wear it, right?

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

Patience with these onions.  Let them really cook down over medium heat.  They shouldn’t burn, but they will wilt and yield to the heat, salt, sugar, and broth.

I insist on using all-butter puff pastry.  It’s more expensive, but you know where your fats are coming from and the flavor is supreme.

I also cut out my little puffs as circles using a 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter.  This comes at a cost.  Some puff pastry scraps were left over and I was unable to reuse them.

If you’d like to make this recipe as rectangles, you’ll get more out of the batch.  Use these instructions found with the Bite-Sized Baked Brie Bites.

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

Let’s layer these flavors.

First, egg wash.  This will help the pastry stick to itself.

Next, a tiny smear of whole grain mustard.

Up next, caramelized onions!

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

Gruyère goes on top of the caramelized onions!

Just a small pinch of each flavor.  No need to overstuff.

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

The egg wash will act like glue in sticking the two pieces of puff together, but these little suckers will fluff up like you wouldn’t believe!  We need some extra sealing security.  A good crimp with a fork will do the trick!

French Onion Pastry Puff Bites

Now the question is, how much convincing do you need?  We’ve combined buttery puff pastry with caramelized onions and sharp Gruyère cheese.  Do I need to twist your arm any further?

These bites can be assembled, placed on a parchment lined baking sheet, and frozen.  Once they’re chilled through you can remove them from the baking sheet and place them in an airtight bag.  Bake from frozen or thaw in the refrigerator and bake from chilled.  You can also bake these off, and freeze them once baked.  They reheat very easily in the oven.  Whatever works for you and your holiday madness!

French Onion Pastry Puffs

makes 12 puffs

Print this Recipe!

For the Onions:

2 medium yellow onions, peeled cut in half and sliced into 1/4-inch thick semi-circles

3 tablespoon unsalted butter,softened, plus more for buttering the bread

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 scant teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

pinch of granulated sugar

3 tablespoons beef broth, beer, or white wine to deglaze the pan

For the Puffs:

2 9×9-inch sheets all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

1/3 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese

Place a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the butter and olive oil and stir until butter is melted.  Add the sliced onions all at once.  Stir to coat the onions in the fat.  Allow onions to cook, undisturbed, for about 4 minutes.  Add salt, thyme, pepper, and sugar, and stir.  Place lid on the pan and allow to onions to cook for about 4 minutes at a time.  Lower the heat if the onions are browning too quickly.  Remove the lid to stir the onions every so often.  The onions will begin to brown, break down, and resemble an onion jam.

When onions are entirely browned and completely soft, add your liquid (beef broth, beer, wine, or water) to the pan.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape any burned bits off the bottom of the pan as the liquid evaporates.  This takes about 30 seconds.  Remove pan from heat and allow to rest while you assemble the ingredients for the pastry puffs.

Unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface.  Use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry about 1/2-inch on all sides. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the pastry.  Two sheets should produce at least 24 pastry rounds.

Brush each round lightly with beaten egg.  Top 12 of the pastry rounds with a tiny smear (about 1/8 teaspoon) mustard.  Top the mustard with about 1 teaspoon caramelized onions and 1/2 teaspoon grated cheese.

Carefully place the remaining pastry puffs atop the onion and cheese mixture, brushed egg side down.  Pinch ends closed with your fingers, them use the tines of a fork to more securely press the pastry together.

(These bites can be assembled, placed on a parchment lined baking sheet, and frozen.  Once they’re chilled through you can remove them from the baking sheet and place them in an airtight bag.  Bake from frozen or thaw in the refrigerator and bake from chilled.  If baking from frozen, add 3 to 5 minutes to the baking time.  You can also bake these off, and freeze them once baked.  They reheat very easily in the oven.)

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place pastry on the prepared sheet and brush lightly with egg.  Prick the top of each pastry with the tines of a fork for ventilation.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  These are lovely served warm, but are also delicious at room temperature.