I’ve got New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day duties to tend to. By duties, I mean that people will be coming to my house expecting to eat and drink delicious things, and… I have a reputation to maintain. This holiday is about celebrating! It’s about remembrance and hope, love and champagne. It’s not about being the hostess with the mostess, as much as it’s about being the hostess with the most streamers and bubbly.
Sidenote: I wish I could teach my cat to do something useful… like, wash champagne flutes.
In the absence of a dishwashing cat, I’m keeping things simple and festive for the holiday. Simple yet totally impressive.
Puff pastry is the key to all things simple and impressive. Fancy mustard, ham, and good cheese are just a bonus.
It’s really important to use all-butter puff pastry for this recipe.
Any puff pastry that doesn’t boast about its all-butterness is made of weirdo fats that just aren’t cool.
Puff pastry is thawed, but still cold… and rolled out just slightly.
Oh! My puff pastry is usually rectangular. This round puff pastry was a surprise. This recipe will work both round and rectangle shaped. Go with what ya got!
Egg wash. Whole grain honey mustard. Thinly sliced Black Forest Ham.
I’m so satisfied with myself.
Scratch that. Now I’m satisfied with myself.
Here’s what’s so clever about this recipe: it’s a total make-ahead situation.
The puff pastry can be thawed and assembled (just like above), and then placed in the fridge overnight. When you wake up on New Year’s Day, you can brush this with egg wash and toss it in the oven. Almost instant brunch. Add an egg. Call it success.
Oh how you are filled with beautiful mustard, salty ham, and creamy cheese.
This dish is wonderfully simple and gloriously make-ahead. Because this pie highlights just a few ingredients, I like to use the best ingredients I can find/afford. All-butter puff pastry is a luxury and so worth the splurge. Whole grain mustard pops with flavor. Black Forest Ham and Gruyere cheese were meant to be married for life. It’s simple, because delicious doesn’t have to be complicated.
Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie
inspired by Ina Garten
1 package (2 sheets) all-butter puff pastry, defrosted but still cold
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/2 pound thinly sliced Black Forest Ham
1/4 to 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced (depending on how much cheese you like)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet, or round pizza pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Unfold or unroll one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll with a rolling pin until each side is increased by about 1/2-inch. This is just a light rolling. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet.
Brush pastry, from edge to edge with egg wash. Spread mustard atop the egg wash, leaving 1/2-inch of space between the mustard and the edge of pastry. Layer on ham slices. Top with sliced cheese.
Gently roll out the second piece of puff pastry. Layer on top of the ham and cheese pastry. Press the edges together with your fingers. Gently fold about 1/2-inch of the edges over, creating and thick crust. Press with the tines of a fork. Dip the fork in flour if the fork sticks to the puff pastry during pressing.
Brush with egg wash from edge to edge. Use a sharp knife to cut three venting holes through the top pastry.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
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