Ham and cheese puff pastry

One of our favorite things to do on the weekends is pick up breakfast pastries at La Farine. It’s this lovely French bakery that has all kinds of beautiful baked goods like chocolate croissants and morning buns. But our absolute favorite treat to get is the ham and cheese pastry. We take them home and warm them up in the oven. They’re made with puff pastry so they’re flaky and buttery, and then in addition to the salty ham and cheese there is also a creamy bechamel sauce inside.

La Farine goodies. 

So when I saw a recipe for a very similar ham and cheese pastry on Joy’s blog, I had to try it. I ended up changing the recipe a little to incorporate the bechamel sauce, which seemed essential. And although my tart was quite a bit uglier than Joy’s, I liked how it turned out. It’s also really easy to make, and goes well with the salad I have been obsessed with lately (spinach and bibb lettuce with tomatoes and hard boiled egg).

Ham and cheese puff pastry
adapted from Joy the Baker

1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted but still cold
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup brown or whole grain mustard
1/2 pound thinly sliced Black Forest Ham
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced into strips (plus a few shavings for the sauce)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you make the bechamel sauce. In a medium-sized skillet or saucepan, heat the butter over medium. When it melts, whisk in the flour. Then whisk in the milk and continue to cook until the sauce becomes thick and bubbly (5 minutes or so). Season with salt. Mix in a few shavings of cheese just to boost the flavor.

Now you can roll out the bottom sheet of puff pastry on a lined cookie sheet. You just want it large enough that you’ll be able to roll up the edges. Brush the bottom of the pastry with the mustard. I was going for a circular tart, but it ended up more squarish — go for whatever shape you like.

Pour the sauce on top of the mustard and spread it evenly. Then layer on the ham and the cheese slices.

Place the second layer of pastry on top, then crimp the edges of the bottom piece over the top, using a fork to press them together. You may need to remove the corners of dough if you’re going for a round pastry. Then brush the top with the beaten egg and cut three slices in the dough for venting.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. When my pastry first came out of the oven it had puffed up huge, but it eventually sank down.

Cut your pastry into slices, just like a pizza and enjoy!