Petite Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Tarts
- 2 tbsps butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
- 12 - 16 thin slices of ham
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere Cheese
- Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
- 1 egg, slightly beaten with a splash of water
Preheat oven to 425 ˚F.
In a heavy bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture is a nice golden color. Pour in the half and half slowing whisk the mixture until it is blended and smooth. Keep on medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan, Dijon, nutmeg, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. This is your béchamel sauce, cover it and set it aside until needed.
Cut the pastry into 2-inch squares or desired shape. Use a sharp knife to score a smaller square about 1/8 of an inch from the edge of each piece. Be careful not to cut all the way through.
To build the tarts, put about a tablespoon of béchamel in the center of each pastry square and spread it just to the edge of the inside square. Layer each inside square with ham and Gruyere cheese. Bake at 425 ˚F on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 15 minutes or until golden and fluffy.
Serve with glasses of Mediterranean Vineyards Fumé Blanc.
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