There's nothing more comforting than a great oooey, gooey, grilled cheese sandwich. So when Bon Appetit Management Company and James Beard award-winning chef Danielle Custer decided to take her love of cheese to the streets this past October with her Monte Cristo Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck, you can imagine the lines of drooling customers who came out to follow her.
Danielle shares how she makes one of her classic mobile melts: the "Full Monte" Cristo. Inspired by how her mother made French toast for her as a child, she fills unique cinnamon swirl bread slices with two kinds of cheeses and Canadian bacon. It's then lightly dipped in egg batter like French toast and grilled until slightly crispy on the edges. It's dusted generously with powered sugar and finished with fresh squeezed lime juice. (Recipe after the jump)
Chef Danielle Custer's 'Full Monte' Cristo
Makes 4 sandwiches
(Downloadable recipe PDF)
4 ounces 2-year aged Grafton extra sharp cheddar, grated
2 ounces cave aged gruyere, grated
4 ounces Canadian bacon, sliced into strips
8 slices of cinnamon swirl bread *
Egg batter (see recipe below)
4-6 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 limes, each sliced into 4 wedges lengthwise (8 wedges total)
Powdered sugar for generous dusting
In a bowl – mix to combine the 2 grated cheeses into a bowl to create a “cheese blend”. Cut thin slices of Canadian bacon into thin strips.
Lay 4 slices of cinnamon swirl bread out on a cutting board and top each with about 1 ounce of the cheese blend, then about 1 ounce each of the sliced Canadian bacon and then again with another ounce of the cheese blend and then top with the remaining bread slices making ham and cheese sandwiches. Press the bread slices down slightly to press all the ingredients together.
Heat a large fry pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add 1-2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Quickly dip or brush each sandwich into/with an egg batter, one side at a time. Place the dipped sandwiches into the pan. Cook the sandwiches for about 4-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through with the cheese fully melted in the center. Place finished sandwiches on a plate. Brush each sandwich with about ½ tablespoon of melted butter. Generously dust the sandwiches with powdered sugar (about a heaping spoon each). Squeeze 1 lime wedge over each sandwich – making a “glaze of butter, sugar and lime. Place additional wedges on a plate in the center of the table for extra juice if need be. Serve HOT. Enjoy!
*Danielle uses special cinnamon swirl bread from Wagner’s European Bakery & Café in Olympia, Wash., but any cinnamon bread will work http://wagnersbakerycafe.com
Crack 2 eggs one at a time into a glass pie plate. With a fork lightly whisk the eggs. Add 2/3 cup whole milk (or ½ & ½) and continue mixing with the fork until uniform in color. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Add ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract and mix in.
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