A Monte Cristo is a sweet sandwich that is usually filled with ham, turkey, cheese that is dipped in batter, deep-fried and covered with powdered sugar. It is often served with some type of fruit jelly. Basically, it is a glorified grilled cheese sandwich.
Monte Cristo is a variation of the croque-monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that originated in France as a fast food snack. The Monte Cristo variation originated in the mid-1900s in the California area.
Monte Cristo sandwiches come in many different variations depending on the region where it is made. Most variations are dipped in batter and deep-fried but it can be grilled, served open faced with just the bread battered or on top of French toast and broiled. The sandwiches are also served with a variety of toppings or sides such as fresh fruit, clotted cream, fruit preserves, powdered sugar, maple syrup, sweet mustard or even Thousand Island dressing.
I had seen Monte Cristo sandwiches in the past but they always sounded a bit strange to me because I am not accustomed to sweet main dishes or sandwiches. The recipes I found never appealed to me so I just decided to forget about them.
Now, a few years later, I guess my taste preferences changed and I became curious to finally find out what these sandwiches are all about. I found dozens of different recipes (surprise, surprise!). As usual, I MacGyver-ed my own recipe and came up with something that most of my family enjoyed it’s not something we would want to eat often. I think further experimenting will improve my recipe but it probably will no longer resemble a Monte Cristo.
Most of the recipes I found use flour, baking powder and salt, so I figured why not just use Bisquick mix? The mix already contains all of these ingredients and requires only one dry ingredient.
Some recipes are double-decker sandwiches with 3 pieces of bread instead of 2. I don’t like eating too much starchy foods and it requires a bit more batter, so I stuck with 2 pieces of bread. Different types of bread may be used, such as wheat or French, but I went with plain old white bread. Whatever bread you choose, make sure that it’s very sturdy to support the weight of this sandwich and make it through the frying process unscathed.
The meats and cheeses are up to you but choose at least moderately good luncheon meats. Please be good to your sandwich and taste buds and don’t buy prepackaged American cheese singles!
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!