Ham and Cheese Pastries (Irish Jambon Recipe)

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!  Let’s do this!  It was insanely beautiful and just as majestic as every movie portrays it to be.  I planned to have a blog post up on my personal blog, SaraMichelleWells.com today so I could link to lots of amazing photos for you, but alas I’m behind! I hope to have it up in the next day or two.  

A lot of people have asked if I have an email list for that blog because I only post occasionally over there (it’s focused on the non-food areas of my life like travel, home and design, gardening, family, fitness, etc.)  so I just started one!  You can sign up here and I’ll just shoot out an email when there’s new stuff over there, including posts about our trip to Ireland! 

Pastries in Ireland

But back to what’s happening here because guys,  THE PASTRIES.  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.  The most common in Ireland, is the Jambon.  I quickly realized this was pretty much a national food, maybe like PB & J in the states??  Kids would buy them on their way to school, adults grabbed one with their coffee and I was obsessed.  It became a “thing” with my son as we constantly looked for Jambons!  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.  As soon as we got home, we re-created a jambon recipe to share with the little brothers.   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.

Irish Cheese

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. 

Assembling Jambons

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

Ham and Cheese Pastries (Irish Jambon Recipe)

  • Author: Sara Wells
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45
  • Yield: 12-18 pastries

Description

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. 


Ingredients

1 package frozen puff pastry
1 cup finely diced ham *see note
2 cups shredded Dubliner cheese
1 egg


Instructions

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. 


Notes

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

8 comments

  1. Interesting name for a pastry – ‘jambon’ is French for ‘ham’. These look delicious and so easy!

  2. I’ve been to Ireland three times and somehow never had these, probably because we always stayed in B&Bs and so they always fed us a traditional cooked breakfast. Bacon, beans, sausage, pan-fried tomatoes and the wonderful brown bread–mmm! (But stay away from the black sausage-blech.)
    I’m excited to try these!

  3. This looks delicious! I was wondering if the diced ham they sell in stores is too large? Is the ham supposed to be diced really fine? Thank you for sharing such delicious and fun recipes!

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