Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH {BENNIGANS COPYCAT}
If you have ever been to a Bennegins restaurant, you have probably noticed, and maybe even tried, the ‘World Famous Monte Cristo Sandwich’ on the menu. We used to have one in Minnesota that I loved, but unfortunately, it closed. It is a sandwich filled with deli meat, coated in batter, and deep-fried. It is also served with raspberry preserves for dipping. In every bite, you get the sweetness of the batter and the protein in the meat.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
There are three parts to this recipe–the sandwich, the batter, and the dipping sauce(s).

Sandwich: I prefer honey wheat bread and thick-cut deli meat. I also used both American cheese and Swiss cheese. You could definitely try making this sandwich with white bread or your favorite kind of bread.

Batter: I have a recipe for a homemade batter you can coat the sandwich before frying. However, you can also use a store-bought pancake batter, like Krusteaz. We tested both. Depending on the batter you choose, your sandwich may be sweeter, thicker, or even crispier with the different options.

Confectioners’ sugar: The sugar is dusted over the fried sandwiches to give them an even sweeter taste.

Dipping Sauce: Raspberry preserves are recommended to serve with a Monte Cristo sandwich. You could also use raspberry jam. I also like to have some honey mustard sauce to dip into.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

HOW TO MAKE THE SANDWICH
The sandwich, which is a variation of the hot sandwich, ‘Croque Monsieur’, has to be assembled and chilled before being dipped in the batter and deep-fried. Chilling the sandwiches helps hold them together while in the hot oil. If you are not planning to chill them, be sure to secure the fillings with a toothpick before coating them with batter and frying.

To make the sandwiches, start with a slice of bread, three slices of turkey, one slice of Swiss cheese, another slice of bread, three slices of ham, a slice of American cheese, and one more slice of bread. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. You will have three sandwiches.

Next, cut each sandwich diagonally in half, for a total of six servings. Wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, up to overnight. Again, chilling is important to keep the sandwiches from falling apart when frying.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

HOW TO MAKE THE BATTER
After the sandwiches have had time to chill, prepare the batter. To make the batter, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the water with the egg. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth. Set that aside as you heat up the oil.

An alternative to this batter is using pancake batter for the sandwich coating. We tested the sandwich with both the written recipe and Krusteaz pancake batter and loved the sweetness that the pancake batter brought to each bite. The sweetness and texture of the fried sandwich depend on the batter you decide to use.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

FRYING MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH {BENNIGAN’S COPYCAT}
Once the batter has been made, it’s time to coat the chilled sandwiches and get them fried in the hot oil to be devoured! Pour enough oil to cover each sandwich. Set it over medium heat until it reaches a temperature between 325°F-350°F. Do not let the oil get hotter than 350°F; if it is too hot, the sandwich will brown too quickly and won’t melt the cheese or heat up the meat, as you can see in the picture above. (Both are still delicious)

When the oil is ready, working with half of a sandwich at a time, remove the sandwich from the refrigerator and unwrap it. First, dip the sandwich in the batter with your hands. Then, with metal tongs, dip the sandwich in the hot oil. (You may have to hold down the sandwich or flip it to get the entire sandwich fried.) If the sandwich does fall apart while frying in oil, take it out immediately to avoid a lot of oil splattering.

Fry until the sandwich is a dark golden brown. The pancake battered sandwich took about 4 minutes to brown; the homemade batter takes a little longer (4-5 minutes).

Remove the sandwich from the oil and set it on a paper towel-lined plate to dry. Sprinkle the sandwich with confectioners’ sugar and serve with a side of raspberry preserves and/or honey mustard. Repeat with the remaining five sandwich halves, monitoring the temperature of the oil before frying each sandwich. Serve the Monte Cristo with a side of fresh fruit or a wedge salad.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

Ingredients

Sandwich

  • 9 slices honey wheat bread
  • 9 slices roasted turkey, deli meat – we prefer a thick cut
  • 9 slices honey ham, deli meat – we prefer a thick cut
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese

Batter*

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅓ cup water
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Dipping Sauce

  • red raspberry preserves, for dipping
  • honey mustard, (optional) for dipping

Instructions

Sandwich

Assemble sandwiches on a work surface. Start with one slice of bread, three slices of turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, another slice of bread, three slices of ham, 1 slice of American cheese and one final slice of bread.

Slice the sandwich diagonally and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours (up to overnight). Chilling allows the sandwich to firm up which will help it hold together in the frying process.

Batter

After chilling the sandwiches, make the batter*.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl combine water and egg, whisking to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk well until all ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth. Set aside while you heat the oil.

Frying the Sandwiches

Pour about 2 inches (or more) of oil into a large pot (enough to cover the sandwich) and set it over medium heat. Heat the oil to a temperature between 325°F-350°F.

Working one half a sandwich at a time, remove the plastic wrap from the chilled sandwich and dip it into the batter with your hands. Then, use metal tongs to dip the sandwich into the hot oil. You may have to hold down the sandwich to submerge in oil or flip it. Fry until golden brown (4-5 minutes with homemade batter or closer to 4 minutes with pancake batter ). Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel-lined plate to drain slightly. Repeat with the remaining halves.

Sprinkle the fried sandwich lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve with a side of raspberry preserves for dipping.

Recipe Notes

*You can also storebought pancake batter, like Krusteaz (the brand we tested). The different batters can result in a sweeter, thicker, or crispier sandwich.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with ham, turkey, cheese and honey

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