I have been thinking about our trip to Disneyland that is on the horizon. We even made lunch reservations for the Blue Bayou restaurant where I already know I will be ordering their Monte Cristo sandwich. I first ate this sandwich at this restaurant as a child and I have often wondered what the origin of the Monte Cristo sandwich actually is? So, I finally did a little research on it.
In the early 1900’s many chefs and culinary experts believed that the Monte Cristo Sandwich was a variation of the French Croque Monsieur that was served in Parisian cafes, a grilled cheese sandwich consisting of Gruyere cheese and lean ham layered between two slices of crust-less bread, fried in clarified butter and made in a special grilling iron with two metal plates.
Then from the 1930s to the 1960s… American cookbooks showcased this sandwich under a myriad of different names including the French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich and French Toasted Cheese Sandwich, all sounding quite delicious, but lacking that truly unique sandwich identity.
Then in the 1950s the sandwich was first served under the name “The Monte Cristo” in southern California. But the BIG push came in 1966 when Disneyland made its own contributions to the popular Monte Cristo Sandwich when it first appeared on their menus at the Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace restaurants in New Orleans’s Square in Disneyland. It was also around this time that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was being built was opened in 1967 as a ride that slinks along the river next to the Blue Bayou restaurant.
Ironically these are my 2 favorite Disney restaurants ever. Unfortunately the Tahitian Terrace with its LUAU inspired Polynesian menu and the Royal Tahitian Dance Troupe floor show did not stand the test of time, but the Blue Bayou still stands today. Ever since then, the Monte Cristo Sandwich has made huge advances in the culinary world becoming one of the most delicious sandwiches of our time and finding its place on menus all over the world. I believe the Tahitian Terrace was sponsored by Kikkoman.
For me, it needs to be served with homemade RASPBERRY jam to be the correct version. Many restaurants try to pass off strawberry freezer jam and omit the powdered sugar, but it just isn’t the same! Here is my version of the classic sandwich – it still makes my mouth water today at the thought of the perfect Monte Cristo sandwich!
MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH
2-3 tablespoons butter
for each sandwich you will need:
2 slices thick Potato bread
1 slice QUALITY roasted turkey
1 slice Swiss cheese (preferably Gruyere)
1 slice QUALITY smoked or baked ham
BATTER (enough for 2 sandwiches)
1/2 cup milk
1 JUMBO egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup self rising flour
- Assemble sandwiches with the cheese between the 2 pieces of meat.
- Cut into halves or quarters.
- Whisk together the milk and egg. Add the seasonings. Add the flour last.
- Melt butter on griddle.
- Dip each sandwich piece in batter coating well.
- Fry each sandwich until crisp. Make sure to turn onto each side and edge to grill batter well.
- Cool on paper towels.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
- Serve with fresh raspberry jam.
8 cups raspberries
6 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange peel
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package unflavored gelatin
- Combine fruit, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel in a stock pot.
- Bring to a full rolling boil – stirring constantly. Let boil 1 full minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in gelatin.
- Skim any foam.
- Pour into sterilized jars.
- Water bath process 15 minutes.