Since the day Disneyland opened in 1955, Disney Parks have been places where guests can connect with Disney stories and characters through rides, parades, and shows. But there’s no doubt that an equally important part of any Disney theme park experience is the unique food items that we all look forward to enjoying whenever we visit the parks.
By Samantha Davis-Friedman
“Food is at the heart of every memory, every family celebration, every vacation, and it’s one of the main reasons many of our guests come from around the world to visit our parks and resorts,” says Alex Dunlap, Food & Beverage Communications Coordinator for the Disney Parks Blog.
Beci Mahnken, founder and CEO of MEI-Travel, agrees. “Theme parks get a bad rap when it comes to food inside their gates,” she says. “But for Disney destinations visitors, tasty treats and delicious mealtime nosh has become just as much of an experience as the attractions themselves.”
The parks may be temporarily closed, but that doesn’t mean Disney fans can’t enjoy delicious Disney magic while at home, so I challenged my son, Jacob — a first-year culinary student at Johnson & Wales University — to help me come up with “shortcuts” for one of our favorite Disney treats using ingredients we were able to find at our local grocery store and/or already had in our pantry.
Monte Cristo Sandwich
Blue Bayou Restaurant at 31 Royal Street in New Orleans Square has literally been putting park guests into the Pirates of the Caribbean story since 1967. Of all the items on the iconic Disneyland restaurant’s menu, the most famous is the Monte Cristo sandwich, with more than 200 of these beauties served each day. (It’s also available at Bar Riva at Disney’s Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World.)
The savory and sweet sandwich starts with a classic combo of ham, turkey, and swiss between two slices of egg bread, but the Disney magic happens when the sandwich is dipped in batter, fried until golden brown, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The recipe for the Monte Cristo is requested so often that chefs printed a card to give to guests, and although Disneyland’s official recipe includes making the batter, we decided to use pancake mix that we already had on hand (though we did add extra water to make the batter thin enough).
Otherwise, we stuck to the official recipe and made our ham, turkey, and swiss sandwiches on egg bread (or challah), but any bread that’s sturdy enough to stand up to battering and frying would work. The Monte Cristo in New Orleans Square is also served with raspberry jelly, but we used strawberry jam because that’s what we had in our cupboard.
Result: Our version of the Disneyland sandwich tasted exactly like the one on the Blue Bayou menu. We even joked that if we turned out the lights, it would feel like we were inside Pirates of the Caribbean.
Check out our recipe below:
- 1 cup of pancake mix
- 2/3 of a cup of water (plus 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup as needed)
- 8 slices of egg bread (challah) or any bread sturdy enough to batter and fry
- 8 thin slices of ham
- 8 thin slices of turkey
- 8 thin slices of Swiss cheese
- 3 cups of Canola oil
- Powdered sugar
- Raspberry or Strawberry jam
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and set aside.
- Combine the pancake mix and 2/3 cup water in a bowl and add extra water to thin (between 1/4 and 1/2 cup).
- For each sandwich, layer ham, turkey, and swiss on one slice of bread, making sure to cover the bread evenly.
- Place another slice of bread on top and cut in half.
- Heat the oil in a 10-inch pan until hot (about 365-375 degrees). If the oil starts to smoke, turn down the heat.
- Coat one half of a sandwich with the batter, allowing excess to drain.
- Very carefully, place into the oil and cook 3 minutes on each side or until brown.
- Place the cooked sandwich on the cookie sheet in the warm oven until ready to serve. Repeat with the other half sandwiches.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with strawberry jam.
We want to see your creations if you decide to give this Monte Cristo Sandwich recipe a try! Be sure to share photos with us on Twitter at @Attractions.