Our Monte Cristo french toast recipe was adapted from The Art of Breakfast by Dana Moos and is much more than a fried ham and cheese sandwich! We use challah stuffed with thinly sliced smoked ham, slices of Bosc pear and Havarti cheese, fry it, bake it and then top it with Maine maple syrup and raspberry preserves. This breakfast recipe satisfies guests with a sweet or savory preference.
The original Monte Cristo is a fried ham and cheese sandwich. It is a variation of the French croque-monsieur which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The croque-monsieur (“to crunch”–“mister”) first recorded appearance was on a Parisian café menu in 1910. Both the Monte Cristo and the croque-monsieur typically used Emmental or Gruyere cheese.
Directions for 4 servings:4 large eggs
1 cup half & half
¼ cup sweet brown mustard
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Maine maple syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
8 slices of challah or other thick-cut egg bread
16 slices of thinly slices smoked ham
8 slices of Havarti (or Monterey Jack)
1 ripe but firm Bosc pear, sliced
Fresh raspberries, for garnish
Raspberry preserves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the eggs, half & half, sweet mustard, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, and salt in blender for 5 seconds and pour into a wide bowl for dipping.
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 on a griddle over medium heat until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Move the sandwiches to a parchment-lined cookie sheet when done. Cover with aluminum foil and place the cookie sheet in oven for 20 minutes, uncovering after 15, until completely heated through.
Serve the two halves on a plate with sprinkled powdered sugar, fresh raspberries, maple syrup, and raspberry preserves. Sometimes we add diced kiwi for color and a light acidic bite.
View photos of some of Dawn's other breakfast creations.