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Ham and Gruyere French Toast Sandwiches

From INN AT BUCK HOLLOW FARM
For the best results, choose a dense style of bread, such as sourdough. It's layers of your-choice-of-ham-product and Gruyere on one dipped-in-egg bread slice, placed in a buttered frying pan, then topped with another egg-dipped slice, and cooked till egg is set and cheese is melted. To serve with, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples are simmered with water, maple syrup, and cinnamon until just tender.

2 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
Eight 1/2 -inch-thick hand-cut slices from a loaf of white bread
Dijon mustard
6 ounces sliced Gruyère cheese
1/2 pound thickly sliced smoked ham
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, water, maple syrup and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk the milk and eggs. Spread 4 slices of the bread with mustard. Top with half of the cheese, the ham and then the remaining cheese.
  3. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over low heat. Dip the bottoms of the 4 topped bread slices in the beaten egg until just saturated and transfer to the skillet.
  4. Dip the remaining slices of bread on 1 side only and place them, soaked side up, on the sandwiches. Cover the skillet and cook over moderately low heat until the bread is browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn the sandwiches, adding more butter to the skillet if necessary. Cover and cook until the second side is browned and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer.
  6. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve with the maple apples.