The Stock Pot: Easy Breakfasts – Ham and Cheese Puff Pastries
“Confessions of an Ingredient Snob” continues and this time, it’s about puff pastry. I’m not talking about the mass-produced, mystery science version that sits in the frozen foods section of just about every grocery store in America. I’m talking about the real deal multi-layered pastry made with real butter. Yes, it may not be as readily available as the other kind. Yes, you may have to order it online or go to your local bakery to score some. Or if you, too, have a reputation for ingredient snobbery, you may be given some as an incredibly thoughtful hostess gift (one of the most awesome surprises I have ever received from visiting friends). However you procure Puff the Magic Pastry, keeping some stashed in your freezer for an array of culinary delights at a moment’s notice is a brilliant move.
- one sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- dried thyme leaves
- 8 thin slices Black Forest ham
- 8 thin slices Swiss cheese
- one large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry sheet out slightly and trim into a 10-inch square. Evenly brush the mustard all over the pastry. Season with a little onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch or two of the thyme. Cut the pastry into 4 (5-inch) squares.
- Arrange 2 slices of ham and 2 slices cheese in the center of each square. Fold two opposite corners of each square over the filling and press the edges to seal, creating a pouch. Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheet and brush each with some of the egg wash. Sprinkle the tops with a little more thyme and several grinds of pepper.
- Bake until the pastries are puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before serving.
Planning: You can thaw the puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight.
Product Purity: DuFour makes an award-winning puff pastry that is available at some Whole Foods markets and is worth seeking out. Boar’s Head makes a wonderful Black Forest ham.
Presentation: A dollop of fruity jam would be a sweet addition to these breakfast treats. They also look great on a brunch buffet (they’re still delicious at room temperature).
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