Recipe: Croque Monsieur Stuffed Pretzels from To Deliciousness and Beyond
Croque Monsieur Stuffed Pretzels with a Bechamel Dipping Sauce
Looking for a dish to wow your friends? Look no further!
I remember a particular time in college when stuffed pretzels made a regular appearance in my sorority dining room, self-control would immediately go out the window as a helped my self to a heaping pile of sweet and savory pretzels. I never thought much about making my own until browsing this book. This recipe from To Deliciousness and Beyond has open up a whole new world of pretzel-making-possibilities for me!
A few notes: Read the recipe fully before starting, you’ll need to allow time for the dough to rise a couple times. Also, don’t skip the baking soda bath—it’s essential in giving the pretzels their signature chewy texture (a similar technique in making bagels).
Enjoy it with your friends and your favorite Bavarian brew.
1 1⁄2 cups water, warmed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
1 3⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons olive oil
1⁄2 cup baking soda
5 ounces black forest ham
6 ounces gruyere cheese
5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small bowl mix together the warmed water, yeast and sugar. Mix and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt. Once the yeast has started to foam, add it, along with the olive oil, into the flour and mix together until all the liquid is absorbed.
On a lightly floured surface begin to knead the dough. Continue to do so until the dough becomes a ball and bounces back to the touch.
Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a moist towel. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and knead a few times before placing it back in the bowl, covering it and letting it sit another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two baking sheet pans with either parchment or a silpat sheet.
While dough is rising, place a large stock pot of water on the stove and mix in the baking soda. Heat over medium high heat. Bring water to a boil.
While waiting for the pot to boil, slice the ham and gruyere cheese into thin, long strips. Set aside.
Once the dough has begun to rise again, divide it into 6 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time with the other dough pieces covered with a moist towel, roll a piece of dough into an 18-inch rope. (If you find the dough is sticking, add only a little bit of flour to your working surface. The more flour you use the harder it is to roll.) Then using your fingers and the heal of your hand, lightly press that rope flat to create a 21-inch long flat strip about an inch wide. Fill with 1/6 of the gruyere cheese and ham, spreading out evenly so you get some in every bite. Fold one side of the dough over the ham and cheese and seal it with the other side of the dough to create a stuffed rope. If you find the dough isn’t sticking to itself well, add a touch of water to the seam.
Now take your stuffed rope and twist it into a pretzel shape. Press firmly to make sure the dough is stuck to itself so it won’t lose its shape while boiling.
Complete the above steps with the other pieces of dough to make a total of 6 filled pretzels.
Working with one pretzel at a time, place it in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove, allow it to drip off some excess water and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Top generously with Parmesan cheese. Complete the rest of the pretzels.
Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until the pretzels are golden.
While the pretzels are baking, make the béchamel sauce: In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook while constantly whisking for two minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to begin to bubble while still stirring. Once thickened, stir in the kosher salt, adding more to taste if desired.
Reprinted with permission from To Deliciousness and Beyond.