How to make a Monte Cristo sandwich
Published: April 21, 2014 at 9:47 PM
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 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!