Disneyland’s Monte Cristo Sandwich is a decadent delicacy that combines the crispy fried textures and sugary flavors of a doughnut with the ooey gooey cheesy goodness of a grilled sandwich. It’s an exquisite extravagance, but one that cannot be missed. It can be found on the lunch menu at the Blue Bayou or at Cafe Orleans for both lunch and dinner. Reservations are needed for both restaurants, and although those at the Blue Bayou are harder to come by, if you have the opportunity, time, and money, the dining experience is both unforgettable and unreplicatable.
The dish itself, a ham, turkey, and cheese sandwich dipped in dough and fried to perfection is easily enough for two people, which makes the $20 price tag easier to swallow. It comes with a healthy side of fruit, but, depending on your hunger levels, you may want to add the Pommes frites or a bowl of Gumbo to round out the meal.
It’s probably my husband’s favorite dish in the parks and easily makes it into my top 5, so we’ve had it on several occasions. Most recently, we indulged ourselves during spring Dapper Day. Dressed to the nines, we dined on a late lunch or early dinner depending on your point of view. Too late I discovered that a deep-fried treat liberally dusted with powdered sugar is not the best thing to eat when you are wearing a fancy dress. I ended up looking like I had been sneezed on by Olaf, but without the nice cooling effects of snow in summer.
Making a Monte Cristo at home, I’ve discovered, is surprisingly easy. You need the basic ingredients for the sandwich–white bread, ham, turkey, and swiss cheese–and the batter is incredibly simple to whisk up. Then you assemble, dip, and fry. Now, my dipping and frying technique could probably use some work, but I thought the sandwiches turned out really well for my first try.
For the batter:
1 ¾ cup milk
1 ¾ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
For the sandwich:
8 slices white bread
8 slices ham
8 slices turkey
8 slices swiss cheese
3 cups oil for frying
Fruit to serve as a side
Whisk the egg and milk together in a large bowl. I used a combination of milk and some leftover heavy whipping cream I had, but any kind of cream will probably do the trick. I like to beat the egg until it’s a little frothy so that it’s light and airy when it cooks. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk until the batter is smooth. The texture should be runny but thick and with no lumps.
Next, assemble the sandwiches. This is as easy as placing 2 slices each of the ham, turkey, and cheese on two slices of bread. Now, a Monte Cristo is traditionally made with ham, but I’m sure it would be delicious with any variation of meats and cheeses your heart desires.
Meanwhile, place three cups of oil in a large pan. The original recipe calls for canola oil, but I used a combination of canola and coconut oil to make the dish a teensy bit healthier and add a little sweet flavor. Come to think of it, the coconut oil probably affected the frying point of the mixture. I used a wide pot because I didn’t want oil splattering all over the kitchen. I also thought I could get away with only using two cups of oil, but you definitely need three. Since I don’t have a fancy cooking thermometer, I had to adjust my frying times a bit. I used the drop a tiny bit of batter into the oil to see if it’s hot enough method and took the sandwiches out when they were golden brown. They weren’t quite cooking all the way through so I lowered the heat and cooked them for longer. I also discovered that cutting the sandwiches in half does wonders for problem.
When they’re nice and golden and crispy, lay them on some paper towels to soak up some of the grease, then plate, sprinkle with some powdered sugar, and serve with some blackberry preserves and a nice side of fruit. If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own blackberry preserves, but I bought mine at the grocery store.
The sandwiches turned out delicious and not even as much work as I had expected. I had them with some sparkling rose wine which is, sadly, not available in Disneyland. These are definitely going into my regular weekend brunch recipe rotation.
Find the original recipe at: http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2013/01/03/disney-recipe-monte-cristo-sandwich-from-disneyland/