I recently was walking down the streets in Seattle on a bright summer morning. I had attended an early meeting and had skipped breakfast. Now I had a few minutes break before my next round of meetings and wanted to find something to eat. There were several donut shops nearby but I wanted to find something savory and filling. I stepped into a local bakery right as they were pulling ham and cheese croissants out of the oven. The smell alone had me won over. I ordered one and sat down right there and enjoyed every last bite. Having the ham and cheese baked into the croissant ensured that it was hot, gooey, and delicious. The essence of the ham and cheese filled the entire pastry. I had been craving one ever since and decided that I needed to make some of my own. I had made a large batch of croissant dough previously as part of my Cronut experiment. I used some of it to make a batch. Personally, if I were to choose between a Cronut and a ham and cheddar croissant, I’d choose the latter.
Ham and Cheddar Croissants
1 batch – Croissant dough, chilled
8 oz. – Black Forest Ham, sliced into 6 slices (so a bit thicker than what you usually use for sandwiches)
3 cups – Medium Aged Cheddar, shredded
4 oz. – Cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 tsp. – Fresh thyme, minced
1 – Egg
Mix the cheddar, cream cheese, thyme, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Separate the cheese mixture into 12 equal balls. Roll the balls into 3 1/2 inch long cylinders. Cut the slices of ham in half and wrap them around the cylinders of cheese. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a large rectangle, 24”x16”. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in 6 long strips (4”x16”) then in half so that each piece is 4”x8”. Place a ham wrapped cylinder of cheese and the end of each strip of dough and gently but firmly roll the dough strips up, pinching the ends to cover the center filling. Pinch the ends slightly so that they do not unravel.
Place the rolls onto two parchment lined baking sheets, 6 per sheet. Crack the egg into a small bowl or cup and add a couple of Tbsps. of water. Blend thoroughly then brush as an egg wash onto each roll. Place the sheets in a 100 degree oven and proof for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Brush the rolls with egg wash again, then bake for 20 minutes or until a dark golden brown.
Let cool slightly then enjoy!