Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ham and Eggs in Puff Pastry

We love to have guests over for brunch so I am always looking for new recipes that are easy and can be prepared ahead of time. I definitely don't want to be tending to food while I'm entertaining. Because waffles and pancakes usually fall into this category, I prefer to make frittatas or other egg based dishes (although I really want to try a make-ahead baked french toast recipe at some point). This was a great twist to our usual frittatas. Scrambled eggs are topped with sliced ham and shredded gruyere, or cheddar, and baked in a flaky puff pastry. We made one with gruyere and one with cheddar because we couldn't decide which cheese we liked better. And we served this with a side of fresh fruit and baked bacon. Give this a try the next time you are serving brunch!

Ham and Eggs in Puff Pastry
Servings: 4 to 6

7 large eggs, divided 
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
2 (9 x 9 1/2 in) sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere or cheddar cheese
6 to 8 slices ham (we used honey deli ham)

In a medium bowl, whisk 6 eggs, salt, and pepper together. Melt the butter in a 12-in skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook over medium heat, pushing and folding the eggs into the center with a spatula, for 2 minutes or until barely cooked. (The eggs should still be shiny and wet). Quickly fold in the parsley and chives and remove from heat. Immediately transfer the eggs to a plate and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 15 minutes. 

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg for an egg wash. Gently unfold one of the thawed puff pastries and place on a lightly floured surface. (Leave the other puff pastry in the refrigerator until ready to use.) Smooth out the creases. Lightly brush the top with egg wash. 

Place half of the chilled scrambled eggs on the bottom half of the puff pastry, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Top the eggs with half of the cheese, and lay half of the ham slices on top of the cheese. Fold the top half of the puff pastry over the mixture and seal the edges by pressing down with a fork. (Do not stretch the puff pastry because it will spring back during cooking.) 

Trim messy edges with a knife, if necessary. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Immediately place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and eggs, ham, and cheese. Transfer to the baking sheet. (Note: Both puff pastries can be baked on the same baking sheet.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or up to one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly brush the tops of the puff pastries with the remaining egg wash. Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving.

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