This retro dish is still a great way to eat croissants and ham. It’s perfect ‘do-ahead’ food if you are feeding a crowd. Just pop them in the oven when needed.
10 small croissants
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
10 slices of ham off the bone, cut a little longer than the croissants
150 grams grated gruyere cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika or cayenne
1 small onion
1 small bay leaf
500 ml milk
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Béchamel: Stud the onion with the cloves and put in a small saucepan with the bay leaf, milk and a pinch of salt. Slowly bring to the boil, allowing the aromatics to infuse the milk. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir to make a smooth sauce and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes to cook out the flour.
Take the onion and bay leaf out of the milk. Whisk the hot milk into the sauce and continue to whisk over a medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Season and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the sauce and refrigerate until ready to use. The béchamel must be cold before using.
To assemble: Slice each croissant 3⁄4 of the way through. Smear a little mustard on the top cut side and spread a little béchamel on the bottom. Place a slice of ham inside each croissant. Spread the top of each croissant with more béchamel and scatter over the grated cheese and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika. The croissants can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the croissants on a lined baking tray and bake 10-15 minutes or until hot, bubbling and golden. Serve immediately.