these ham & gruyère twists, inspired by those beautifully golden ham & cheese croissants you see at any fancy-pants french breakfast spot, have perfectly puffy pastry, salty ham & nutty gruyère cheese, & are finished with a sprinkle of sesame & fennel. served in bite-sized form, they make a great little snack for an elegant brunch gathering & they’re equally delicious when you have friends over for cocktails & appetizers.
you know those super dreamy, puffy, golden ham & cheese croissants that they sell at fancy pastry shops? the kind with a zillion little flaky layers of french pastry stuffed with salty ham & sharp swiss or gruyère cheese??
the kind that woo your breakfast & brunch dreams with their golden perfection???
these ham & gruyère twists are those bad boys, but in bite-sized appetizer form(!).
i was so beyond excited when i thought of this recipe. it’s an adaptation of one of my favorite little treats to serve during the holidays, but inspired by our favorite classic french breakfast treat. i literally cannot say no when i see a shop selling ham croissants. & these ham & gruyère twists makes those fancy pants savory pastries SO easy to pull together at home.
so naturally, i was dying to tell chris about my idea for these twists…but that conversation went something like this:
j: “BABE. i have the greatest idea. you know those herby bacon cheddar twists i make around the holidays?”
c (intrigued, eyes lit up): “yeah…”
j: “ok so i’m going to make those, but with ham & gruyère & fennel & sesame seed instead!!!!”
c (confused & slightly horrified): “oh…uh…why?”
j: “no, you know those ham croissants we always get on the weekends with the flaky pastry & the ham & the salty gruyère with the fennel on top??”
c (still confused): “yeah…”
j: “it’s like thooooose, but in bacon twist form!”
c (still confused): “but no bacon?”
j: “nooo…but it’s our favorite breakfast, just in a snackier-appetizerier way!”
c (still confused): “i guess i don’t get it.”
j: “NEVERMIND.” smh!!! have you no imagination, husband?!
to his credit, when i lead with what is literally chris’ favorite thing to come out of our kitchen, he’s bound to be a little disappointed when it gets changed up, with a lack of bacon. i guess i’ll work on my pitch next time.
BUT, the disappointment didn’t last long once he saw these golden babies. perfectly puffy pastry with salty ham & nutty gruyère & finished with a sprinkle of sesame & fennel.
& these ham & gruyère twists are SO easy to make, thanks to the help of pre-made puff pastry that you buy in the freezer section of your grocery store. you simply layer the puff pastry with gruyère & ham & slice into individual pieces (one sheet of puff pastry makes 20-24 twists). place them on a baking rack & in pop them into the oven, where they’ll brown & puff & bake to golden deliciousness in about 30-35 minutes. that’s it! SO simple.
a couple of secrets to pulling off these ham & gruyère twists like a pro:
- don’t forget to defrost your puff pastry in the fridge overnight. (…not that i’m speaking from experience or anything…)
- egg wash both sides of the puff pastry before you assemble the twists. this part is HUGE. not only does it help keep the cheesy ham situation that’s about to go down stick to the pastry a little better, but it also means that you don’t have to futz around trying to egg wash the twists after they’ve been twisted (which generally ends up in a cheese-all-over-everything situation…& not in a good way).
- use a sharp knife to cut the ham & gruyère twists. i’ve tried to cut these with a pizza cutter, thinking that i was being an efficient genius, but it just didn’t do the trick because the pizza cutter wasn’t sharp enough to cut through the crispy edges of the ham effortlessly.
- work quickly. once the puff pastry gets too soft, it can be very pliable & difficult to handle. this would be a great recipe to make with the helping hands of your s.o. (provided he’s not pouting over the lack of bacon that’s going down.)
- ham & gruyère twists do taste best when they’re fresh, so just try to pop them in the oven right before your guests arrive. not only will they be greeted with the amazing aroma of puff pastry baking to flaky perfection, but you’ll also get to serve the twists when they are still warm. your friends will be ooh-ing & ahh-ing over how you’re the most amazing hostess ever. #boom
- pair with prosecco (erhm, just like everything else in life!)
ham & gruyère twists would make the perfect fancy little bite-sized treat to serve at any brunch or luncheon. like easter! they would be such a fun update to an easter brunch spread.
or shower season! the brides- & mamas-to-be in your life will love these elegant little twists.
& they’re also great as an appetizer whenever you’re having friends over for cocktails or a dinner party.
orrrr…you can just make a batch for yourself & munch on them while standing at your counter drinking wine.
i’ve done that myself & i must say, it’s pretty fabulous.
plus, the fact that they’re bite-sized makes them perfectly acceptable to eat in multiples. #winning.
check out the recipe for ham & gruyère twists below & tell me…have you ever had a ham & cheese croissant? what’s your go-to appetizer to serve when you’re having friends over?? tell me in the comments below…i’d LOVE to chat! xx
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- 1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the fridge
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
- 2 C of gruyère cheese, shredded (I use a gruyère & swiss blend from Trader Joe's)
- 12-15 slices of deli ham
- 1 tbsp whole fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp whole sesame seeds
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- cooking/baking spray
- baking rack
- brush (for egg wash)
- preheat the oven to 375 degrees. place an oven rack on a baking sheet & set aside.
- prep your ingredients as listed in the "ingredients" section, above.
- in a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds & sesame seeds over medium-high heat until just fragrant. set aside in a small bowl or dish & add salt. stir to combine into spice blend.
- unroll the puff pastry onto a large, flat surface, leaving it on the parchment paper it's rolled with. brush the beaten egg generously over both sides of the puff pastry to ensure a golden & flaky crust for the twists.
- working quickly, add the gruyère cheese and 1/2 of the fennel & sesame spice blend on top of the puff pastry. it should stick slightly to the beaten egg but press it down a little to ensure it sticks.
- layer the sliced ham over the cheese with a little bit of overlap with each slice of ham.
- slice the puff pastry into 1 inch slices & in half lengthwise.
- spray baking sheet with cooking/baking spray.
- grab each slice of puff pastry/cheese/ham by the ends & twist as you move the puff pastry from the parchment paper to the baking rack. some of the filling may fall out & that's ok!
- spritz the twists with the cooking/baking spray & sprinkle any filling that may have fallen out during the twist process, as well as the remaining spice blend on top of the twists.
- bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the twists are golden, puffy, & fragrant. allow them to cool slightly on the baking rack & gently coax them off the baking rack with a spatula. it may take a little time, as the twists can stick to the rack, but with a little elbow grease, they'll come right off.
- serve with prosecco or cocktails as a petite treat at a brunch gathering or a bite-sized snack at a cocktail party.
- these twists also make fabulous dunkers for tomato soup!