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 (Boar’s Head is the way to go). Please be good to your sandwich and taste buds and don’t buy prepackaged American cheese singles!
12 slices bread
6 slices turkey
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
6 slices American cheese
1 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup milk
1 large egg
Raspberry jelly (optional)
Put together the sandwiches with the meat and cheese between 2 slices of bread, alternating between the meats and the cheeses.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a whisk. Whisk in the water and egg. You want a batter that is the consistency of pancake batter, not too thick or too watery. Add more milk or some water if you need to thin the batter some.
Dip the sandwiches into the batter and deep-fry in enough oil to cover them fry until golden brown.
Remove the sandwiches from the oil and dry as much of the oil off with paper towels.
Serve the sandwiches immediately and top with a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar and optional warm jelly.
Note: If you are health-conscious and don’t want to deep-fry the sandwiches in oil, they can be baked in a greased pan, uncovered for 30 minutes in a 350° F oven. Also, for a healthier alternative to regular Bisquick, use Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix is low in fat, cholesterol free and contains 0% t trans fat.