The most crowd-pleasing appetizer that has ever existed is here. Ham and cheese puff pastry squares are so elegant and impressive, yet they only take minutes to make! You probably already keep all 5 ingredients on-hand, and you really can’t mess this recipe up. It’s a hearty appetizer with the delicious combination that everyone loves: ham and cheese!
The amount of puff pastry I’ve consumed over the past few weeks might be alarming to some, (like my doctor) but not to others (like the French). I’m just saying, if you pass me on the street and want the secret to my glowing skin: butter.
I had to test my 15-minute puff pastry recipe a few times, and then I tested dessert recipes with it. Desserts like sweet ones with apples, and simple things like palmier cookies. Oh, and let’s not forget that ‘dessert,’ where I brushed dough with even more butter and showered it with cinnamon and sugar. I was just showing off for that one. After the last batch of puff pastry was gone, I had the idea to make you a quick, savory appetizer for Thanksgiving. So, I made another batch of dough. Oh, bless these struggling arteries.
One batch of this ham and cheese puff pastry makes 4 reasonably-sized ham and cheese sandwiches, which we ate with Caesar salad for dinner one night. (Salad negates butter, if you didn’t know). As an appetizer, you can get 8 bites out of it. You can scale up from there, according to your party plans. It’s just so dang simple. Grab some sliced ham (thin, but not shaved) and your favorite cheese (I like an aged white cheddar), brush on a little mustard, crimp, and bake.
Sweet and savory things to do with puff pastry:
- With just one sheet, you can make apple turnovers.
- If you lack a lot of ingredients, you can still take melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar and make palmiers.
- My favorite sweet thing to make is an apple tarte tatin for two, of course.
- A few slices of deli meat, cheese, and fancy mustard, and you can make these ham and cheese puff pastry appetizers.
How to make ham and cheese puff pastry
It’s really true, you can make this in minutes. Just ensure the puff pastry has been out of the freezer for a few minutes to soften first. Grab fancy mustard from the fridge (any kind is fine, more details below), a few slices of ham, and an egg yolk for brushing on top to give it the rich golden color.
- Puff Pastry. Just one sheet of puff pastry. It can be from the box (obviously!), or you can make my recipe for easy homemade puff pastry.
- Mustard. Anything works here: fancy Dijon (my personal favorite), spicy brown mustard, coarse-grain mustard, or even bright yellow mustard.
- Deli Ham Slices. You need six thin slices of ham; yes, like the kind you put on your sandwiches. Thin slices is key here–no thick ham steaks here, please!
- Aged Cheese. I haven’t found a cheese that isn’t great in this ham and cheese puff pastry appetizer, truly! An aged white cheddar is what I reach for most, but Gruyere, Gouda, and even Parmesan.
- Egg Yolk. Do not skip the egg yolk brush if you want to impress. It gives the puff pastry a beautiful golden brown color that reminds me of perfect crust from a bakery. Here’s a lift of recipes to use leftover egg whites.
- First, gather all of your ingredients, and preheat the oven to 450-degrees F. Yes, that’s hot. This ham and cheese puff pastry cooks quickly because of this! You need one sheet of puff pastry, 6 slices of ham, two tablespoons of mustard, 1 cup of grated cheese, and one egg yolk.
- If the dough comes right from the freezer, let it rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes, or until you can unroll it without it cracking or tearing much. If you made my homemade puff pastry, be sure to do the one-hour chill time in the fridge first. Then, let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before proceeding.
- Unroll the pastry, and use a rolling pin (or wine bottle) to roll it into a 1o-inch square. Brush the mustard all over the surface of the pastry. Then, on one side of the square, shingle the ham slices, leaving a 3/4-inch border from the edge. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the ham.
- Fold the other half of the pastry on top of the ham and cheese mixture. Use a fork to crimp the three open edges. Then, move the pastry to the baking sheet before brushing the entire surface with beaten egg yolk. Don’t worry about the underside of the pastry, though.
- Quickly and gently move the pastry to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 17-19 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and flaky. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving so that the cheese doesn’t ooze out.
To serve this as an appetizer:
Once cool, you can use a very sharp knife to cut this into 8 appetizer-sized portions. To cut evenly, cut into four squares, and then slice at an angle to make 8 triangle shapes. You can scale this recipe up for a larger party, of course.
To serve this as a meal:
I like to cut the square into 4 smaller squares and serve this with a salad to make a complete meal. My beetroot and feta salad is especially great with this! If it’s summer, try my nectarine salad on the side instead.
Other ham and cheese recipes you will love:
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- flour, for rolling
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 6 thin slices of ham
- 1 cup grated aged cheese
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 450, and gather the ingredients.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 10" square. Trim the edges with a knife, if you're into that neat sort of thing. Brush mustard over all of the dough. Place the ham slices, slightly overlapping each other on the bottom half of the dough. Be sure to leave a 3/4" border. Cover the ham with the cheese, again leaving a border for crimping.
- Fold the top half of the dough over the ham and cheese, and press the edges closed gently with your fingers. Use a fork to crimp the edges. Then, move the pastry to a baking sheet. Brush the egg yolk over the entire exposed surface liberally with the beaten egg. Use all of the egg, don't skimp.
- Bake for 17-19 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing an serving.
Puff Pastry: This can be from the box, or you can make my recipe for easy homemade puff pastry. If the puff pastry is frozen, let it rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes to defrost enough so that you can roll it without cracking. If you made my homemade recipe, let it chill in the fridge 1 hour, and then let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before rolling.
Mustard: Fancy Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard, coarse-grain mustard, or even bright yellow mustard are all great here.
Deli Ham Slices: You need six thin slices of ham, like the kind you put on sandwiches. You want thin slices, but not shaved ham.
Aged Cheese: An aged white cheddar is what I reach for most, but Gruyere, Gouda, and even Parmesan.
Egg Yolk: This gives the puff pastry a beautiful golden brown color that reminds me of perfect crust from a bakery.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 227Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 658mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g