Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Speaking of Names...

My last post contained two recipes that have names in the title.  This post also contains two recipes with the same name in the title...a place name.  Monte Cristo.

When I hear "Monte Cristo" it always makes me think of two things: 1) The Count of Monte Cristo (book and movie) and 2) The Blue Bayou restaurant at Disneyland.

As for The Count of Monte Cristo, in most cases a movie has a hard time beating the book.  And while I LOVE the book, there's a little too much revenge going on.  Yes, Edmond Dantes was horribly wronged.  But to wreak revenge on the second generation of his wrongdoers?  Children of his perpetrators who never did anything wrong...except be born to a parent who was a jerk and a traitor.  And that wasn't really their fault, was it?  I really think the movie tied things up perfectly.  It pinpointed the major bad guys and meted out their justice and Dantes' revenge fantastically.  But then the good guy got to end up with his love and a son to boot (not how it happens in the book...he doesn't end up with Mercedes and her son isn't his).

As for The Blue Bayou restaurant at Disneyland, I have only eaten there once.  I went with my friend, Krissy, during one of our college summer breaks.  She's from California, so I flew out to see her and we spent one of our days at Disneyland.  After riding on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride, we ate at The Blue Bayou.  I got a bronzed chicken dish that was really good and Krissy got a Monte Cristo sandwich.  It was the first time I had ever seen or heard of such a sandwich.  I remember being very intrigued by the combination of sweet and salty.  A traditional Monte Cristo sandwich is kind of like French toast with sweet and savory sandwich fillings.  Egg battered and pan-fried bread with sliced ham, turkey, raspberry or strawberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  And do you know what?  I love it.  It's great!  There are variations, of course.  Some versions only use ham, not ham and turkey.  Some versions use maple syrup instead of the jam.  Some versions skip the sweet syrup and jam in place of Dijon mustard.  It really can be tailored to suit your tastes.

So if the sweet and salty bit isn't your thing, you can skip the jam and replace it with Dijon mustard and omit the powdered sugar.  But as for me, I'll eat it the traditional way!

I'm going to share two versions today.  Neither are the traditional version...but you can find a pretty faithful version of the recipe here.  Here's another traditional version.  I wanted to try one or more of these versions, but then I discovered that my younger son is allergic to eggs (unless they've been baked at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes) there went that idea!  Hopefully he grows out of that allergy!

The first variation I'm sharing uses puff pastry and there's nothing wrong with that!  Yum.  The second version is a little more homey and it uses Bisquick and it's more like a casserole than a sandwich.  But it still works!

Oh, and here's your fun-fact for the day.  Monte Cristo sandwiches originated in California in the mid-1900's.  So, without further ado...

Monte Cristo Sandwiches


1 egg
1 tbsp water
all-purpose flour
1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
8 thin slices deli Black Forest ham
4 slices deli Swiss cheese
Confectioners' sugar
Pure maple syrup


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Sprinkle the flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square.  Cut into 4 (6-inch) squares.  Brush the edges of the pastries with the egg mixture.

With a corner of 1 pastry facing you, place 2 slices ham and 1 slice cheese on the bottom half of the pastry.  Fold the pastry over the filling to form a triangle and press the edges to seal.  Crimp the edges with a fork.  Repeat with the remaining pastries.  Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.  Place the pastries onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Sprinkle the pastries with the confectioners' sugar.  Serve with the maple syrup.

Easy Substitution: For a savory twist, serve with Dijon-style mustard instead of the maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Puff Pastry website.  Found here.

Notes: I used thick slices of ham (pretty much because I made this recipe at the time to use up some of my leftover ham).  I used turkey as well.  I cut my Puff Pastry into smaller squares to make smaller portions, but I wouldn't do that in the future.  I would stick with one pastry sheet equaling four servings because otherwise, it's too small.  Yes, Puff Pastry is pretty high in calories, but you'll want to splurge this time because otherwise you'll feel like you're eating an appetizer for your entire dinner and you will still be hungry.

I skipped the egg since my younger son is allergic to egg.  Instead, I sprayed the finished sandwich pockets with cooking spray to help it brown.

And instead of the maple syrup, I used strawberry jam.  My husband opted for the Dijon mustard.

The roasted ham worked just as well as the deli ham would have in this recipe.  So, you can go either way!

Monte Cristo Delights


2 cups Bisquick Heart Smart mix
3/4 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 egg or 1/4 cup fat-free egg product
5 oz reduced-fat Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
6 oz deli-style lean or fat-free ham or turkey ham, very thinly sliced
6 oz deli-style lean or fat-free turkey, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup strawberry or raspberry spreadable fruit
Powdered sugar


Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish, or spray with cooking spray.  In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, and egg until blended.

Spread half of the dough in bottom of baking dish.  Top with half each of the cheese, ham, and turkey.  Spread spreadable fruit over turkey to within 1/2 inch sides of dish.  Top with remaining ham, turkey, and cheese.  Spread remaining dough over cheese to sides of dish.

Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 serving is 320 calories, 7 g fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1290 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugars, 22 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker.  Here's a version if you just want to make this for two people instead of six.

Notes: I would test it with a knife before serving because sometimes the top is nice and browned, but the inside of the Bisquick is still a little doughy.

Also, I have made this a handful of times and the deli ham works much better than the thick-sliced ham.  I wouldn't substitute your roast ham leftovers in this dish.

One final note, from time to time, I have accidentally misjudged how much Bisquick to put on the bottom layer so that there is still enough to spread over the top.  If you do this, just whip up a smaller batch of the top Bisquick layer (1 cup Bisquick, 1/3 cup skim milk, and one egg).  Spread enough (or all) of the extra Bisquick mixture to evenly cover the top layer.


  1. I have never had a Monte Cristo sandwich. The first time I heard of it was in a cookbook when i first got married. I was intrigued and would have tried making it, but your father would have died if I tried to serve him something so out there. He's very "meat and potatoes."

    And when you say the mid 1900's that sounds so long ago. Really, I was born around the mid 1900's. Don't use that phrase again. :)

  2. Ha ha! Sorry. I just used the phrase that was listed in a different Betty Crocker recipe. They said "mid-1900's" not me! At first glance, I could have sworn that is said "early 1900's." I will never use that phrase or "mid-century" again for your sake.