Fresh Ham and Cheese Croissants

Croissants. Not just any croissants. Freshly baked ham and cheese croissants. And not “croy-santz,” but true, honest-to-god, homemade “krwa-sawhn.” That’s what I’m talking about.

I don’t make croissants nearly as often as I should. For the longest time, I’ve relied upon my dear friend Cindi Kruth. Cindi is one of our recipe testers as well as one hell of a baker. The One and I went over to her and her husband Martin’s home one Saturday morning last autumn, and what awaited us? These croissants. About two dozen of them, fresh out of the oven. As soon as we walked in the door, she swung around with a rack of these in her hands. I’m not ashamed to admit I ate about six myself. How could I not?

Yes, yes, I can imagine what you’re thinking now as you looked below for a recipe and didn’t find one. How much ham and cheese are we supposed to use, David? Why haven’t you included the recipe, David? Are you trying to torture us, David?

Well, kind of. Kidding. Cindi uses a recipe quite similar to our croissant recipe for the dough. By nature a very meticulous baker, Cindi is uncharacteristically loosey-goosey when it comes to cramming her meticulously made dough with jambon et fromage. Still, when pressed, she divulged some of her secrets. “The drier, saltier kind of ham works best in this recipe,” she says. “And I prefer Gruyère cheese.” She says she buys about 8 ounces each to fill a dozen or so croissants. “If it’s too much,” says Cindi, “you can make a ham and cheese sandwich with the leftovers. If it’s too little, well, there’s nothing wrong with a plain croissant.”

To assemble the croissants, when you get to the part of the recipe where you have a counter full of rolled and cut dough triangles, top each with little three-sided sliver of dough with a slice of ham and some grated cheese before rolling it. “I place the ham and cheese along the top notched edge,” advises Cindi. Remember, the rolled dough gets another rise, so it’ll expand a little. This means the ham slice doesn’t need to fit entirely within the rolled croissant. A little ham sticking out past the dough is okay and, in fact, yields a nice, crisped nubbin. You don’t want too much of the ham exposed, though, so if it hangs way over the edge of the dough, you may want to cut it to make it fit better. And you want to make sure the cheese is grated on one of those old-fashioned box graters, not those “new-fangled microplanes,” as Cindi calls them, because you want some heft to the cheese. “And make sure to use no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons per croissant,” Cindi warns. One of the biggest mistakes she sees her baking students make is overstuffing the croissant dough, only to watch helplessly as the excess cheese belches out the sides. Then just roll as you would the unfilled croissants, tuck the tip of the dough under, and curve the croissants into the classic shape.

Merde, Cindi. Now I want some ham and cheese croissants, dagnabbit.

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Comments
Comments
  1. Ling Teo says:

    GAH. WANT NAAAAAOOOW. (please excuse my inner greediguts manifesting itself…)

  2. Oh what a delight! Fresh croissant stuffed with ham and Gruyere. Bliss.

  3. Omgosh! I want one desperately now!!

  4. Anna says:

    Croy-santz served by a gar-kon. Trying to get that memory out of my head.

  5. Elisse says:

    OMG- must make these! (Tonight I didn’t have the croissant dough handy- or even an ol’ Wal-Mart croissant- but this made me crave it SO badly that I melted mozzarella topped with prosciutto in the microwave… So shoot me. ;-)

    • David Leite says:

      This is a gun-free zone, Elisse, so no shooting allowed! But do try to make it from scratch. You’ll never darken the door of Walmart for croissants again. Promise.

  6. Jamie says:

    Okay, first this reminded me of a high school French class when our lovely and sophisticated French teacher brought us into the home ec classroom and – using Pop n’ Fresh dough and hershey bars – made us pains au chocolat and I thought it was the ultimate in chic. Second, I don’t think I have seen or eaten a ham and cheese croissant for twenty years. Didn’t they used to make and sell them in boulangeries in France? I am now swooning. Something terrible. And want.

    • David Leite says:

      Jamie, indeed chic! When we were taking French in high school, we were never allowed near the home ec classroom. And, yes, they still do serve ham and cheese croissants in boulangeries. When we visit Rue Cler in Paris, there is a lovely little bakery that serves them. [Swoon.]

  7. lisa says:

    You’ve wrecked me…..

  8. Penny says:

    “only to watch helplessly as the excess cheese belches out the sides.” I am keeping this line as part of my arsenal for keeping holiday pounds at bay. It makes me laugh while reminding me to eat only 2 or 3 croissants and not the whole pan or I’ll be belching out the sides.

    • David Leite says:

      Hey Penny, that wasn’t exactly what I intended, but if it helps, then I’m fulfilling my job of being of service to my readers. Even it it means heeling them NOT eating as much as they normally would….

  9. David, it’s been far too long since I’ve made croissants. It really doesn’t “do” for me to be making them very often because I have zero control and I’m no longer the wee waif of a girl I once was!

  10. Susan Gaffney-Evans says:

    These beauties called my name this morning, although I took a shortcut–I just so happened to have a short sleeve of refrigerated crescent rolls in my fridge. I rolled them out and tucked in the ham and cheese and popped them in the oven for 12 minutes. Voila! Breakfast!

    • David Leite says:

      Wonderful, Susan. And how were they? (I gotta say if you make the dough, you’ll have a whole other experience!)

  11. Kwasantz…love ‘em but in order to keep my trim figure at my precious age, I indulge in these less frequently than I would like. Odd, but here in Berkeley, CA, there are a zillion (ok, 37 at last count) in the city limits, many of which are cafes or ‘artisanal’ and the quality, overall, is generally quite good…so for me, why pull out the stops one fine day making these, using my entire day?

    The challenge? Aagh…but they look good. Hell, I need to do them once just to say I did and have bragging rights.

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