Disney Copycat Recipe from the Blue Bayou
Note: Dairy-Free Substitutions Included
If there is one item in all of Disneyland that someone should check off their bucket list of Disney foods, this is it. I’ve tried multiple versions of this recipe and the outstanding winner for making the perfect Monte Cristo Sandwich in my house is from The Disney Food Blog. The perfect combination of sweet and savory, this is dessert for lunch and makes an amazing breakfast splurge. Just watch your waistline, it’s not something you’d want to eat every day and still fit into that retro Mickey t-shirt. >.~ So, allow me to invite you into my kitchen, and I’ll share with you how to recreate this amazing treat at home. (Note: The recipe for this sandwich is featured below.)
The shopping list for this recipe is straightforward and won’t require anything you won’t already have at home or be able to find easily in your local grocery store. I purchase my cold cuts at Costco (love the deli) and the black forest ham has the perfect flavor for this recipe. We are also lactose intolerant in my house, thus you see Lactaid instead of the standard milk that the recipe calls for originally. For those of you who have a lactose allergy, this recipe can be altered and still produce delicious results.
But what about that block of swiss cheese!? Here’s some cool science – cheese with trace levels (less than 0.5 grams of lactose) in natural, aged cheese (such as Cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss) can be digested by people with lactose intolerance. During the cheese making process, most of the lactose is drained off with the whey or liquid portion of the cheese. Thus, unless you have a severe lactose allergy, it is highly likely that a natural, aged Swiss (the one used in this recipe was purchased from Sprouts) shouldn’t cause any issue. (Note: Consult with your physician or dietary specialist if you have concerns about your lactose allergy.)
Mix Dry and Liquid Ingredients Before Combining
Make sure you sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl to get a nice even distribution. In the same manner, combine the egg and milk. Doing these separate before you combine helps you get that creamy, non-clump batter that makes the perfect sandwich for frying.
Combine Dry and Liquid Mixtures for Creamy Sweet Batter
Add and stir in gradually the egg/milk mixture to the dry ingredients and combine until there are no lumps. The batter will have a fairly runny consistency, yet thick enough that it will coat the sandwich. If the batter seems too thick or sticky, add in a little extra milk to soften it out.
Prep the Sandwich Cuts
I purchased my ham and turkey pre-sliced from the deli but had to slice the Swiss before I could assemble the sandwiches. If you slice your own, make sure to get a nice even cut so your sandwich stays in that nice square shape. You also want your cheese to melt evenly in the fryer, so don’t make your slices too thick that you’d have to burn your sandwich to get it to melt. Remember, you have to let your sandwich set after frying and the inside heat will continue to melt the cheese if you have nice even slices.
Prep Area & Heat Frying Pan
Before you start assembling the sandwiches, I recommend you begin heating up your oil (340 degrees Fahrenheit unless you are using a thicker bread, then you could go as high as 360) setting up your frying area with a plate lined with paper towels so that as sandwiches finish frying you have a space and tools prepared to remove from the pan and drain the excess oil.
Assembling the Perfect Monte Cristo Sandwich
It’s important to follow this exact pattern of bread, cheese, meat, cheese, and bread. This ensures that your cheese is closest to the heat and will get that nice gooey, melted cheese filling.
Checking the Oil
My mom gave me one of the best tips when it comes to frying anything battered. Place a few drops of batter in the oil when you start heating and you’ll know when the oil is ready by the drops of batter being cooked to the right color.
Battering the Sandwiches
A couple of pro tips that will save you a huge mess – 1) use a pie pan for the batter so you have plenty of space to work the sandwich around in, and 2) rubber gloves to keep your pretty hands from the stickiness of the batter. Trust me, clean up will be much simpler by following these tips. When you coat the sandwich, make sure you’ve got a nice full coat along all sides and drop in the fryer almost immediately. If you are concerned about the sandwiches staying together, place a toothpick on each corner to hold it together while frying.
Fry the Perfect Monte Cristo Sandwich
There’s really no “perfect” time to put on this recipe, so I advise that you fry until you’ve reached your preference of golden. The Disney Food Blog recipe calls to cook them one side, batter, and then the other as well as individually in the pan. I’ve made this recipe multiple time now doing this different with no issues, but I’m also cooking on gas with a very broad pan. For the first time making this, I recommend following their exact specifications and then once you are comfortable with the recipe, add your own shortcuts.
Remove Sandwiches from Oil & Prepare Dipping Sauce
Make sure you drain the excess oil and let cool before serving these sandwiches. If you are concerned about the cheese or wait time between sandwiches for a large group, place on a cookie sheet and place on low heat in your oven. This will keep the cheese melted and the sandwiches ready-to-serve temperature. For the dipping sauce, I prefer a nice raspberry but you could use blackberry instead. For this recipe, I used Sprouts organic raspberry preserves.
Disney Copycat Recipe is Ready to Eat
To serve, slice your sandwiches in half (look at all that beautiful melted Swiss cheese), sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with dipping sauce. A side of fresh fruit and you’ve got an entire meal – Disneyland style!