When you get an email with the words “puff” and “pastry” in the subject line, the answer has got to be yes, right? No matter what the content? Despite the fact that you have three exams this week and you are still tripping over boxes that you haven’t had time to put away since you moved? Right! I received an email a few weeks ago about a contest going on over at Serious Eats. The idea is to find a new and creative way to use puff pastry to create a Halloween and/or fall-inspired dish. The best entry wins a trip to the Serious Eats Headquarters in New York City.
How could I say no to that? I decided to take the savory route and create a dish featuring the best flavors that fall has to offer – ham, nutty gruyere cheese, and sweet autumn apples. I bake squares of puff pastry and layer them with slices of ham, melted gruyere cheese, and warm apple slices to create these Ham, Gruyere, and Apple Napoleons. I think it makes great use of one of my favorite ingredients, puff pastry. It is a delicious, simple, and unique dish that just screams fall!
I am really excited to see what this Serious Eats contest has to offer. I have been looking through the submissions every day, and so far, they look mighty tasty. A few things that have caught my eye are this Texas Peach and Pecan Tart and these Brie Pumpkin Puffs. The contest ends on Friday, October 19th, so if you are interested in entering, you can submit your puff pastry-inspired treats here.
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 ripe apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
- 8 slices thick-cut ham
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 6 rectangles and place on one of the baking sheets. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Top with the other sheet of parchment paper and layer the other baking sheet on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples, thyme, and salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the apples are slightly softened.
- Preheat the broiler. Remove four of the puff pastry squares to a plate and set aside. Spread some mustard over one side of eight of the puff pastry squares. Layer with the ham, apples, and cheese. Place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the cheese is melted and the ham is warmed through. Stack the layered puff pastry with the reserved squares, so that each napoleon has three pieces of puff pastry. Serve warm.