We are taking one of the most elegant sandwiches and making it portable and crowd-friendly.
If you are not familiar with a Croque Monsieur, first, find the nearest French cafe and order one (or two) for yourself because it is an EXPERIENCE.
It’s exactly what you would imagine a French ham and cheese sandwich to be. Perfectly finessed and covered in the richest, most wonderful cheese sauce before being broiled until brown and bubbling.
Do you now hold a grudge against your American mother who fed you limp ham and individually-packaged-American-cheese Wonder Bread sandwiches your whole life? Yeah, me too.
I’m kidding mom, I love you.
My love for the not-so-humble sandwich inspired these hand pies. These are so simple to whip up for a crowd and carry with them all the flavor and richness of the original.
Grab a roll of frozen puff pastry and cut into squares. A standard sheet will yield six pies.
Each square is filled with a bit of thinly sliced ham and a slice of Havarti. It’s a mild, creamy cheese that melts wonderfully.
The pies bake to golden, which gives us just enough time to make a rich, gruyere bechamel. It’s essentially macaroni and cheese without the macaroni.
This is the perfect dipping sauce for our hot hand pies and is a nod to the sauce which would typically be poured over a Croque Monsieur sandwich.
I served these alongside a salad for our dinner, but they would also make a very impressive and delicious appetizer!
Just look at that cheese sauce. It’s my gift to you.
Croque Monsieur Hand Pies
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
6 onces deli ham, very thinly sliced
3 slices Havarti cheese, sliced into 6 triangles
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warm
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated gruyere
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the thawed pastry into six even squares. Spread a thin layer of dijon over each square and top with a piece of havarti and several slices of ham. Fold the square over on itself, forming a triangle, and use the tips of your fingers to seal the edges. Lay the pies onto the prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush each pie with a thin layer of the egg wash.
Bake the pies for 20-25 minutes; until puffed and golden.
While the pies bake, prepare the bechamel.
Place butter into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in flour, forming a roux.
Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the roux is pale golden in color.
Whisk in warm milk and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and thick; about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and then remove from heat.
Stir in grated gruyere until the sauce is smooth and all of the cheese has melted.
Serve the hand pies warm, alongside bechamel for dipping.