Many of you followed along via Instagram on a trip I took recently to Ireland. My husband and I wanted to start a tradition of taking our kids on a trip all by themselves when they were about 12-13 and my oldest was the perfect age when we spotted a great deal on plane tickets to Ireland so we said, why not! It was insanely beautiful and just as majestic as every movie portrays it to be.
Pastries in Ireland
The food in Ireland was lots of meat and potato type things, which honestly we got a little tired of after a week, but the one thing I almost cried over leaving was the pastries. Like so many countries in Europe, corner markets, bustling cafes, and friendly street carts are full of fresh pastries every morning. One we fell in love with, is the Jambon. Ironically, in Ireland I think these have a reputation for being junk food- the kind of thing you could find in the hot counter at every gas station, but I imagined an American-ized version with puff pastry. There’s nothing surprisingly new about these- it’s simply ham and cheese wrapped up in a flaky soft pastry, but man they were good. I noticed the Irish versions tended to have a bit of a white sauce involved as well, but we made ours simply with ham and cheese and they were delicious! These make a great snack, breakfast or brunch, appetizer, or game-day food. They can be prepped and frozen, eaten warm or cold, and easily re-heated. It’s a great (and EASY) recipe to have up your sleeve!
How to Make Jambons
The beauty of this recipe is in the simplicity. 3 ingredients, people! A package of puff pastry- and if you’ve never used that before it’s found in the freezer section of the grocery store, cheese, and ham.
Now obviously I went straight for Irish cheese. Check the deli area and look for Kerrygold; Dubliner is a great option as it has a wonderful flavor and melts well. You can definiltey just use any type of cheese you like, but I do love a good Irish cheese!
I either buy a pack of ham steaks, or simply go to the deli counter and ask them to cut you a couple slices that are about 1/4″ thick, which you can cube up at home. Definitely cut them tiny, that’s part of the beauty here.
I roll out my puff pastry just a bit larger than it naturally is. You’ll want to cut square shapes so do that geometry in your head and make sure you’ll get even squares. I prefer 6 squares per sheet for breakfast/brunch/snack size, or you can do 9 squares if you’d like small, appetizer size ones. Be generous when you fill them, especially with the cheese. That dough is going to puff up and increase and you want to have a nice creamy center to bite into. I form little mounds on top so they can melt down.
Then you’ll just take the edges and pinch them shut like this (you might notice I’m showing a smaller size on this photo below). Give them a quick brush of egg wash before they go into the oven. They can also go into the freezer at this point! You can freeze them pre or post bake if you’d like to prep ahead for something.
When they puff up in the oven, the tops that you pinched together come apart, and that’s okay! That’s actually what’s supposed to happen. You want them puffed and golden brown- but don’t overcook because then they’ll be crispy instead of flaky and soft.
I like the bottoms just a bit soft, so you crunch into those flaky layers and meet a pile of creamy gooey cheese and salty little bites of ham.
These are great for a party or brunch because you can prep them and keep them in the fridge and then bake them right before serving. You can also re-heat really easily in the oven, but they’re great at room temperature, too!
Try these out and let me know what you think. It may not be the same as a trip to Ireland, but you can at least experience the pastries!Print
This popular Irish cafe food is a cinch to prep and whip up at home with just a few ingredients. Pastries can be made and frozen ahead of time, or eaten hot or at room temp. Makes a great appetizer, game-day snack, or even light meal. Ingredient measurements are approximate, feel free to substitute your favorite cheese.
1 package frozen puff pastry
1 cup finely diced ham *see note
2 cups shredded Dubliner cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners.
Let pastry sheets thaw in fridge. Lay out on lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll them out just a bit larger than their given size. You’ll need to cut dough into even squares (can be larger or smaller depending on your preference) so you may want to grab a ruler to make sure you’ve got it at a good size to cut even squares. I like to cut into 9 squares for small bites and just 6 for larger, more traditional size.
Place a good amount of cheese and a sprinkle of ham in the center of each square. Be generous. Then take the corners of each square and pull them up to the center and pinch to close. (They will open back up during cooking and that’s okay!)
Whisk your egg with 2 tablespoons water in a small dish and then brush egg wash over the top of each sealed square.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
If you’d like to re-heat leftover pastries from room temperature or fridge, simply place on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for just a few minutes, until heated through again.
You can also prepare these and freeze PRE or POST baking. To cook, place frozen pastries directly on baking sheet and bake as directed. They’ll need a few extra minutes.
Keywords: Jambon, Irish, Pastry