Are you tired of the same old ham and cheese sandwich? Deli meats and cheeses seem to naturally wind up inbetween two slices of bread. Instead, today I’m taking inspiration form my daughter’s favorite pizza combo to make flaky warm pastry “sandwich” Ham and Cheese Turnovers with Za’atar. Our pizza orders always involve ham, pineapple and caramelized onions. It’s delicious and the sweet pineapple balances with the cheese and onions beautifully. This tangy sauce of mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce gives each bite a punch of flavor.
Don’t be intimidated by puff pastry. It can handle some handling. You may have to pull and stretch the top to fit over the bottom piece and the stuffing but, don’t worry. Puff pastry sheets are really easy to work with. I find it much more manageable than Phylo dough which dries easily.
Start by caramelizing the onions, low and slow, allowing them to absorb the pineapple juice as they cook. Once this is finished HIDE IT! It is so good just like this and if you’re not looking someone (my husband) might eat it all.
Ham and Cheese Turnovers
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 sweet onion sliced thin
- 2 cups fresh pineapple cubed + 1 cup pineapple juice
- pinch of salt + pepper
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Pinch of cayenne
- 12 slices of ham thinly sliced
- 6 slice gruyere cheese
- 6 slices or 6 oz shredded Emmental or Gouda or Swiss
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 tablespoons Za’atar
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter. Add the onions and cook about 10-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until carmel brown. Slowly add the pineapple chunks and the pineapple juice, a little at a time, letting everything cook into the onions. Slowly add more until until you’ve added all the pineapple chunks and juice. Cook until the onions are caramelized to your liking and the pineapple juice has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheets and cut each sheet into 9 squares to make triangles or five rectangles. Place pastry on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper (this will prevent sticking).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Brush the mustard mix lightly on each square of puff pastry.
- Divide the onion/pineapple mixture among half of the pastry squares, top with ham and cheese. Don’t overfill, otherwise it will be very difficult to seal the edges.
- Brush egg wash around the perimeter of each pastry square and carefully fold dough over filling to create triangles. Pinch the edges closed with a fork to create a good seal. Generously brush the top of each turnover with egg wash, sprinkle with Za’atar. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of chopped fresh thyme and flaky sea salt.
If you choose to cut the pastry into squares instead of rectangles you can fold them into triangles. These are smaller when finished but makes a great appetizer.
Look at these amazing layers of delicious pastry and cheesy, saucy deliciousness. I made some with Za’atar and some without but next time I will make all of them with Za’atar. It is the perfect spice blend to pair with these ingredients. I brought some home from Morocco and my friend Mai from AlmondAndFig.com brought me some from her homeland Palestine. (Real friends bring you spices and cool ingredients.) But you’re in luck, Za’atar is easy to find in the spice aisle these days as it’s become very popular. FOR GOOD REASON, it’s delicious!
About the Author
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray. You can follow her here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and Heinen’s as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.
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