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How to make a Monte Cristo sandwich

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Published: April 21, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Looking for something to do with all that leftover Easter ham? Why settle for a boring old ham sandwich when you can make the world's best theme park ham sandwich instead?

Disneyland's Monte Cristo

If you live in Southern California, you could go to Disneyland for an authentic Monte Cristo, but that would defeat the purpose of using those Easter leftovers. So here's how to make a Disney-style Monte Cristo at home.

For years, I tried making Monte Cristos at home by putting together what I thought a Monte Cristo to be: A ham, turkey and cheese sandwich on French toast. But the result never tastes like a Disneyland Monte Cristo. Which should have made sense, because a Disneyland Monte Cristo really isn't just meat and cheese between two slices of French toast. Instead, you should think of it as a quartered ham-turkey-and-cheese sandwich that's been battered and fried. (Heck, there's only one-fourth of an egg per sandwich in a Disney Monte Cristo!)

For a Easter-leftover version, let's ditch the turkey and just pile on more ham. Ultimately, the fillings are up to you. Disneyland also offers a three-cheese version without any meat — just Swiss, Brie, and Mozzarella, instead. Too rich for my taste, but if you don't have any Easter leftovers and are hankering for something indulgent, go ahead!

The key here is the batter, and getting it fried just right. Disney's published this recipe many times — my copy comes from a 2003 edition of the now-defunct Disney Magazine. Set aside some time to whisk this batter to an airy consistency to get the best results.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Makes four sandwiches, with four slices each
1 egg
1 3/4 C plus 2T water
1 3/4 C flour
3/4 t salt
1 t baking powder
8 slices thick, high-quality white or egg bread (challah's the best)
8 slices ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
3 C canola oil
Powered sugar, for dusting

To make the batter: whisk the egg and water in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Then add the flour, salt, and baking powder, whisking until smooth and airy.

To assemble the sandwiches, place two slices ham and a slice of cheese each on four slices of the bread, topping with the remaining four slices of bread. Quarter each sandwich by slicing from corner to corner.

Heat the oil in a skillet to 350 degrees F. Dip each quartered slice into the batter, coating it completely, then allowing the excess to drip away. Then slip each sandwich piece into the oil to fry, 3 minutes on each side. (In a 12-inch skillet, you should be able to fry all four quarters from a single sandwich at once.) Once fried on both sides, carefully remove the sandwich pieces and let sit to drain on a paper towel-lined plate for a moment before dusting with powdered sugar and serving.

Options: Replace half the ham with turkey to create a more authentic Disneyland Monte Cristo. Or replace all of the meat with Brie and Mozzarella to create the Three-Cheese Monte Cristo.

You can decide how many people these four sandwiches, served as 16 slices, will serve. In some families, that's lunch for four. In my family, this is more like lunch for eight. ;^) Happy eating!

Readers' Opinions

From 76.171.80.20 on April 21, 2014 at 9:53 PM
The Katella Deli a few miles down the street from DL makes a *fabulous* Monte Cristo.
From Anon Mouse on April 22, 2014 at 9:03 AM
Some foods are better left for the professionals. The effort to make your own is more effort than eating at the resort. The calorie count and carbs should indicate that this sandwich is a once a few years treat.

It looks like a beignet sandwich. Oily and sugary.

From Robert Niles on April 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Well, if you're not living within a short drive of the resort, then whipping up a batter for a few minutes then doing a quick skillet fry is less effort than booking a plane trip or spending a day or two in the car!

By the way, this recipe is delicious and tastes every bit the same as the Disneyland version. Though, yes, it is a rich and deep-fried indulgence. Don't try this every day (or even every week).

From James Koehl on April 22, 2014 at 6:02 PM
I found another recipe for the Monte Cristo sandwich in "Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs" by Pam Brandon, dated 2004, pg.85. The only differences I saw, other than that it includes the turkey that you omitted, was 1)it only calls for 1/4 tsp salt; 2)it specifies 2/3 pound ham and turkey, cut into 4 slices; 3) it specifies 1/4 pound Swiss cheese, cut in to 4 slices;) it says to serve with blackberry preserves on the side.

Would it be a lot of work to make? If you like to cook, then no, it's not a lot of work. Some of us find cooking to be relaxing, almost therapeutic. Being able to recreate some of the special foods we enjoyed at a Disney park lets us re-experience the special times we spent there. Many if not most of us rarely get to a Disney park. Pulling out one of my Disney cookbooks and recreating the Cheddar Cheese Soup I had at Le Cellier, the Artist Point Berry Cobbler I had for desert at Wilderness Lodge, or the Peanut Butter 'n Jelly shake that my wife let me taste at the 50's Prime Time Café brings back wonderful memories.

Would I want to eat like this every day? No. This is not health food. Not everything has to be health food. Sometimes people need comfort food, with all the calories and carbs, oil and sugar though it might contain.

From Gabriel Schroll on April 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM
Next time I'm at DLR, I will definitely have a Monte Cristo!

The only time I'd ever had one was at Bennigans, and it's been probably 15 years. It was served with some kind of raspberry sauce, so I would imagine similar to the cookbook mentioned above with the blackberry sauce.

I can't recall much about it except the idea of it makes my arteries hurt.

Still....I will definitely have one on my next trip to The Happiest Place on Earth!!
Why oh why doesn't The Most Magical Place on Earth also have Monte Cristos?

Hmmmmm.....

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