Puff pastry with ham and cheese is a phrase which would win me over in just about any situation, but particularly in the case of these little pastries made with flaky puff, thinly sliced leg ham and nutty, melty Swiss cheese.
I’d eat these cheesy puff pastries at any time, but they’re especially great for quick entertaining. They’re also a great way to use up leftover holiday ham. If you’ve gotten to the end of the Christmas food line and still have ham to get through, wrap it in pastry with cheese and not a soul will think you’re serving up leftovers.
I bake these puff pastries in my steam oven, which makes the pastry extra flaky and puffy, but I don’t know anyone who’d refuse them if they came out of a regular oven either! Ham and cheese puff pastry is savory, salty, buttery goodness rolled up into one little bundle, and if you want to add asparagus like I have, you’ll even get in your greens. 😉
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Ingredients for puff pastry with ham and cheese
This is a dish where a recipe isn’t strictly necessary, because you can adapt to what you’ve got in your kitchen. The critical ingredients are just:
- Puff pastry (I buy frozen and pre-rolled all-butter puff for ease)
- Swiss cheese, or another type of melting cheese
That’s it for the basics. I’ve also added fresh asparagus spears to my pastries because it’s in season and I love it. But a little chopped spinach or broccoli will work too, as will fresh herbs like basil, thyme or parsley. Or just go for the ham and cheese alone!
Another way I like to ‘pimp’ my pastries is by spreading a little honey and mustard onto the pastry underneath the ham and cheese. It adds a nice complexity and goes really well with the other flavors.
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How to make ham and cheese pastries
These pastries are so easy to make! Preheat your oven (see the temps and full details in the recipe card below), grab a cookie sheet or baking tray, and let’s get started.
First, cut the pastry into the correct sized pieces. My puff pastry is rolled into sheets measuring about 10in/25cm square, so I just cut each one into four smaller squares.
Mix the honey and mustard together in a small dish and spread it over the pastry squares, leaving two corners of each square free.
Arrange a slice of ham, asparagus and then the cheese diagonally across each piece of pastry. If you are adding the asparagus, try to leave the tips uncovered by the cheese. It looks pretty for serving and I actually kind of like the ‘frazzled’ quality the tips take on in the oven.
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Fold one corner of the pastry over the filling, then brush a little egg wash or water onto it before folding over the other corner. The egg wash/water just helps the pastry corners stick to one another.
Egg wash the top of the pastry (this is optional but if you’re entertaining it does add a lovely glossy sheen to the baked puff pastries). Then pop them into the oven and just wait!
15-20 minutes later, you’ll have a tray of golden, flaky puff pastry appetizers (or breakfasts, or light lunches… whatever you like, no one’s judging here). Serve them hot or warm and watch them disappear like everyone’s been starving all day!
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
Puff Pastry with Ham and Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 sheets puff pastry store bought, thawed but cold (each sheet approximately 12in/30cm square)
- 24 asparagus spears small, or cut larger ones in half
- 4 slices leg ham
- 8 slices Swiss cheese or other melting cheese (about 5.5oz/150g total)
- black pepper to season
- 1 egg yolk for glazing
- Set oven to 400°F/200°C, combination steam setting. If you have variable steam settings, use 50% (if you can’t vary your steam, don't worry! Just set to combi steam at the correct temperature and the oven will take care of the humidity). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix the mustard and honey together until smooth and set aside.2 Tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey
- Cut each pastry sheet into four squares. Divide the honey mustard mixture between the squares and spread out, leaving two diagonally opposite corners without the mustard mix. You’ll fold these corners over later to enclose your filling, so they need to be able to stick together.2 Tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 sheets puff pastry, 1 teaspoon honey
- Using half a piece of ham for each pastry (you may need to cut or fold to fit), lay it over the squares so it covers the centre but leaves the two bare corners empty.4 slices leg ham
- Lay 3 asparagus spears per pastry over the ham, then place a slice of cheese on top of the asparagus and season with ground black pepper. Bring up the two opposite corners of each pastry and overlap them to enclose the filling. You should have a little cheese and the ends of the asparagus poking out at the other corners.24 asparagus spears, black pepper, 8 slices Swiss cheese
- Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top of each one with a little beaten egg yolk.1 egg yolk
- Cook until puffed and golden all over, about 18 minutes. Serve warm.
- These pastries can be fully assembled and kept in the fridge for up to a day before baking, or frozen, raw, for up to a month. If you’re freezing them, bake straight from frozen and add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.
- These make a lovely brunch or light lunch dish, and you can fill them with all sorts of ingredients depending on what you have on hand. Here I’ve used ham, swiss cheese and asparagus, but there are lots of great combos. Try salami or roast chicken in place of the ham, or forgo meat altogether. Use roasted pumpkin, sliced tomatoes or zucchini in place of the asparagus, and any cheese which melts nicely in place of the Swiss (I really like brie or a creamy blue cheese).