I had a few friends over one afternoon not too long ago for tea, and I was looking to make a few easy snacks for us to enjoy with the tea. I had two sweet options, my Honey Scones and a Salted Caramel Ice Cream Macaron (coming soon), fresh strawberries, and these, which ended up being the hit of the afternoon! I was asked for the recipe and promised it shortly, but I didn’t get it up that week, or the week after… or the one after that. But it’s up now. 😉The thing you must keep in mind when looking at the pictures is that these are EASY croque monsieur roll ups. The most complicated thing about this is making the sauce, and that takes like 7 minutes. In fact, I made these up earlier in the day, popped them in the fridge unbaked, and baked them a few hours later just as my guests were arriving. I’m about 95% sure I could have even made them up a few days in advance, frozen them, thawed the night before in the fridge and then baked. Easy appetizer recipes don’t get much simpler than this.
The secret to these easy croque monsieur roll ups is a teensy shortcut in the pastry. I used frozen puff pastry, like the kind you find at the store, in a box, already prepared. I have no shame about this, I was busy. If you’re planning a get-together, chances are you are busy too, so know where you can take a shortcut and still be able to say “why yes, I did make all this delicious food. I’m so glad you like it!” This is one of those places.
When shopping for frozen puff pastry, there is a difference between brands. Epicurious has this great article with differences between the top three brands: Dufour, Trader Joe’s, and Pepperidge Farms, if you’d like to get technical. The main thing I was looking for was an all-butter dough because I like the flavor an all-butter dough provides. Dufour and TJ’s both have all-butter dough, PF does use vegetable shortening. In the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t make a huge difference, but here at Casa du Godmother we love our butter.
The ham is a sweet ham I purchased at my grocery deli counter, and I bought pre-shredded Gruyere cheese. Not all stores have pre-shredded Gruyere, but if they do, it would typically be in the specialty cheese section near the deli and not in the sliced cheese section by the dairy. You could also used sliced Gruyere if you find it since it would make rolling up the dough very easy.
These roll up appetizers were such a hit and so easy to make, I’m keeping them on my short list of go-to party foods, and once you try them, I’m sure they’ll be on yours too!
- 1 package frozen puff pastry
- 8 oz shredded gruyere cheese
- 8 oz black forest ham
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- Thaw your puff pastry according to the package instructions.
- Make your sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, then slowly drizzle in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
- Add the salt, nutmeg and bay leaf to the pot, and cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes until your sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Lay out your first puff pastry sheet on a very lightly floured surface (there are two in each package). One of the long sides should be closest to you. Spread sauce in a thin even layer over the sheet, leaving ½ inch margin at the top and ¼" margin on either side. Layer half your ham over the pastry sheet, and then top evenly with half your cheese.
- Starting at the side closest to you, roll the dough up evenly to create your swirl. Lightly pinch the top edge to the roll to seal.
- Cut into ¾" rounds with a sharp knife and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 1½ inches apart.
- Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry dough.
- If you aren't baking the appetizers until later, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
- If you are ready to bake now, preheat your oven to 400 F and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the puff pastry is cooked through and lightly golden brown. Rotate the baking sheets mid-way through the baking time to promote even browning.
- Serve immediately!