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ham & gruyère twists

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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, with salty ham & nutty gruyère, & 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.


  • 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)
  • 1215 slices of deli ham
  • 1 tbsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • cooking/baking spray

special equipment required

  • baking rack
  • brush (for egg wash)


mise en place

  1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees. place an oven rack on a baking sheet & set aside.
  2. prep your ingredients as listed in the “ingredients” section, above.
  3. 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.

assemble the twists

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. layer the sliced ham over the cheese with a little bit of overlap with each slice of ham.
  4. slice the puff pastry into 1 inch slices & in half lengthwise.
  5. spray baking sheet with cooking/baking spray.
  6. 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!
  7. 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 the twists

  1. 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 the twists

  1. serve with prosecco or cocktails as a petite treat at a brunch gathering or a bite-sized snack at a cocktail party.
  2. these twists also make fabulous dunkers for tomato soup!