Time saver: if you like a ham and cheese croissant, you’ll probably like this.
First things first: this isn’t a recipe for croissants – I’ve never even attempted to make them, for a couple of reasons: firstly, it’s a lot of work, and secondly, seeing how much butter goes into them might put me off eating them. Sometimes it’s nice to keep a few things you don’t make just so you can enjoy them when you’re out. (Sushi also falls into this category for me – although I think making it is less involved than making croissants.)
I’m not sure if a croque croissant is an actual thing in France. They might just be for foreigners and the French may consider them some sort of travesty. Who knows? A local French deli (Pyrénées – if you’re in Auckland and you like French food I highly recommend it) sells these and I love them. It’s really just a “Croque-monsieur” (these are definitely a thing in France) but made with a croissant rather than two slices of bread.
The basic concept with a croque-anything is some kind of bread with ham, cheese, and bechamel (white) sauce, put together then grilled (broiled) to perfection.
As you may have guessed, since I don’t make my croissants I have to buy them. You could use supermarket croissants (some are better than others) but if you’ve got a French bakery (or really, any bakery) nearby it’s probably worth picking them up from there. Another good option is to get frozen croissants and use those. (For some reason the Asian Food Warehouse in Christchurch used to have an awesome deal on these, I think sourced from the French Bakery. Unfortunately the food warehouse is out of commission because of the earthquake, but they may return.)
Here’s the recipe, pictures to follow…
Croque-croissant – makes 4
- 4 medium sized croissants (already baked)
- 100-200g shaved ham
- ¾ c milk approx – for a thick white sauce (or ½ c milk and ¼ c cream for a richer creamier sauce)
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste
- 4 slices cheddar cheese for tops (use Gruyère if you have it)
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
- Add flour to make a white roux. Stir well to combine and keep from catching on the bottom. Cook for around 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually add the milk and stir well with each addition to avoid lumps. It’s most likely to go lumpy if you add too much milk in one go at the beginning. You can use either a wooden spoon or a whisk for mixing.
- When you’ve added all the milk, remove from heat. You should have a very thick white sauce. Add the Dijon mustard (if you’re not a fan, use a ½ tsp, or leave it out altogether), cracked black pepper and salt to taste and mix well.
- Cut an opening along one side of each croissant to allow you to fill them.
- Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the Bechamel sauce into each one, spreading within the croissant.
- Divide the shaved ham into four, and put a layer on top of the sauce in each croissant, then push the croissants closed.
- Put another Tbsp of Bechamel on top of each croissant, spreading slightly, then place a slice of cheese on top of this.
- Grill/broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and gone golden, then serve.