Croissants filled with ham (Schinkengipfeli)

Schinkengipfeli (translated ‘small ham croissants’) are an important part of Switzerland’s finger food landscape. They’re very popular at party buffets, but also enjoyed as a lunch on-the-go instead of a sandwich. In my family we like eating them for dinner, acompanied by a salad. And personally I find them even more delicious cold on the next day, therefore I always make sure to make plenty. There are hundreds of recipes around for this ham croissant and each bakery or supermarket has their very own vesion. I like my recipe the best because it uses more ham and less sausage meat than most others, which makes it a little easier to digest. I’m not sure where I have my recipe from, it’s a hand-written one and I’ve been using it for more than two decades.

This recipe uses Kalbsbrät (translated this means ‘veal sausage meat’. Kalbsbrät is bought in big square boxes or straight from a big bowl at the butcher’s). If you can’t find this kind of sausage meat in your country, you could try with the the content of an actual, uncooked sausage.

Recipe for 12-15 croissants

  • 1 packet of puff pastry (320 grams)
  • 150g Kalbsbrät (sometimes labelled as Fleischkäse (uncooked) or sausage meat if you live abroad
  • 250g ham slices
  • 2 eggs
  • a generous handful of parsley
  • salt, pepper
  • a dash of Cognac or Whisky or Sherry (optional)

Method

Cut the ham into small squares. Chop parsley finely. Add the Kalbsbrät, ham, only one of the eggs, parsley, salt, pepper and a dash of Cognac or similar. Using your hands, mix everything together.

Roll out dough very thinly (if you buy a rolled out one, roll it even more to make it about half as thick than it was).

If you have a  round cake cooling rack (they’re popular in Switzerland), place the rack onto the dough, cut around it and then press it onto the dough so you can see the six segments. Remove the rack and cut along the segment lines. If you don’t have a round cooling rack, cut out a round shape 32cm in diameter, and then divide it into six segments.

Put some filling on each segment (the filling should be just enough for 12-15 croissants). Using your finger, put a little water onto the ends in the middle of the circle. This will help the end of the dough stick to the croissant when rolling it.

Roll up each croissant, starting with the long side. Once rolled up, twist the little ‘wings’ to close the croissant and then form it into the shape of a crescent.

Roll out remaining dough again and continue until you’ve used up all dough and ham mixture.

Place croissants onto a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Crack the second egg into a glass, mix it and use it as an eggwash for the croissants.

Bake at 220C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

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