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)
- 12–15 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
- 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.
assemble the twists
- 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 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 the twists
- 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!