The toast of Monte Cristo...

by - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, especially on the weekends. Even though there's always somewhere to go and something that needs to get done, Sunday morning graces me with unhurried energy to create a special meal the three of us can enjoy together. During the week, we are all off in different directions, quite often eating on the go. But not on Sunday...
From The Art of Breakfast by Dana Moos, I had been anxious to try one of my favorites - the Monte Cristo sandwich. It's simply ham and cheese made with French toast. You can use any savory elements you like, but in Dana's recipe, the egg mixture is what I wanted to try the most because she adds in maple syrup and Dijon mustard. These were DELICIOUS! They just had enough balance of sweet and savory to satisfy on a cold winter morning (or afternoon!)

Monte Cristo with Ham, Maple, Mustard, Pears and Havarti
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sweet brown mustard (I had Grey Poupon Dijon so I used that)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
8 slices of Challah or other thick-cut egg bread (okay, we had rye bread in the house... a far cry from Challah, but still good!)
16 slices of thinly sliced smoked ham
8 slices of Havarti or Monterey Jack cheese (I used Havarti)
1 ripe but firm  pear, sliced

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Mix the eggs, half and half, mustard, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, and salt in blender for 5 seconds (or with a wire whisk) and pour into a wide bowl for dipping.
3) Layer four slices of the bread with cheese, ham, sliced pear, and another layer of cheese, then top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Cut in half. Dip the sandwich halves into the egg mixture and fry over medium heat until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Move the sandwiches to a parchment-lined cookie sheet when done. Cover and place the cookie sheet in oven for 20 minutes, uncovering after 15, until completely heated through.
4) Plate 2 halves with maple syrup to dip for each (total of 4 servings) and enjoy!
Even though it was just us three, there weren't any leftovers! We simply devoured the toast of Monte Cristo! xoxo-Sonya

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