02 December 2012

Monte Cristo: Crock Pot Gourmet #4

I'm sorry for the delay in posting this week. I was busily working on "finishing" my NaNoWriMo project (50,000 words in 30 days), and I got distracted (I made it, though not "officially" - I wrote 50,000 words by hand, in my story notebook, but by the time I got them all typed up, it was a few minutes after midnight on December 1st, so it didn't count, according to the NaNoWriMo website).

But you aren't here for tales of my writing life, you're here for delicious, melt-in-your-mouth recipes. So without further ado, I present to you one of the favorites in our home: Monte Cristo sandwiches!

A Monte Cristo is kind of like a club sandwich (ham, turkey and Swiss), dipped in an egg and milk mixture, fried like French toast, and then served with raspberry jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. It's absolutely delicious... and a pain to put them together for an entire family. As you know, this, as far as I'm concerned, the perfect time to break out the crock pot and put together a dish that gives similar flavor/texture with minimal effort from me. So of course, that's what I did.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
For a printable version without pictures, click here.
Start by gathering your ingredients: 6 eggs, 1-2 loaves bread (I like a nice, hearty whole wheat bread, because it stands up better in this application) 1lb. each: turkey, ham & Swiss cheese - all thinly sliced, raspberry jam, 1c. powdered milk, water, cooking spray & I used my 5quart Crock Pot for this, although you could easily use a 6 or 7 quart Crock Pot with the same recipe quantities.

Spread jam liberally on each piece of bread (about 1/2 to 1 Tbsp per slice, depending on your personal preference). - You can skip this step, if you'd like and simply serve the finished "sandwiches" with a large dollop of raspberry jam, but I've discovered that adding the jam into the preparation process reduces the prep and mess when it comes to serving. And with kids, this is critical.

Spray the crock with a thin coat of cooking oil, and then line the bottom with bread, jam side up. You may have to use partial pieces of bread in the empty spaces to fill in the whole layer. I find that it's much less mess if I cut the bread to fit before I add the jam! (I like to use the ends of the loaf for this layer, as they tend to hold up better, but that choice is up to you.)

Layer with 1/4 lb. sliced turkey
(It works best if you loosely fold the slices as you layer them. This leaves air pockets to allow the egg/milk mixture to penetrate all layers later.)
Add 1/4 lb. sliced ham
Then 1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
Add another layer of bread and jam.
On this, and ALL subsequent layers, make sure the bread is jam side DOWN!
Repeat these layers 4 times, until you've filled your Crock Pot. (I often manage to fill it all the way to the top for this recipe. This is okay, as long as you're careful in pouring the liquid in later.)
Break six eggs into a large measuring/mixing bowl. (The measurement markings on the side of the bowl make the next step so much easier, so use this type of bowl if at all possible!)
Whisk in 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, 1 c. powdered milk and enough water to bring the total liquid mixture to 4 cups. (The amount of water may vary slightly, depending on your eggs, so just gradually pour it in until the entire mixture reaches the 4c. mark on your mixing bowl.)
Slowly pour the mixture over the casserole, allowing it time to sink in to all layers.
Press down on the top layer slightly, to make sure all of the bread is covered in milk/egg mixture.
Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Slice the "sandwich"
And serve with a dusting of powdered sugar
(and melted raspberry jam, if you skipped the jam step in the preparation.)


  1. Can you cook this on high at all? I would like to bring this to a potluck, but am unable to cook it that long there. Thanks!

    1. Technically, you can cook it on high, but you'll get a slightly-burned, hard crust all around the edges of the dish by the time it's cooked through to the middle. I've taken slow-cook dishes like this to potlucks by simply cooking them at home before I go, but if that's not an option, you could simply cut around the burned edges and just serve the middle. :)

    2. Thank you! How long do you think it will take to cook? I know it says 6-8, but can you give a better time? Or does it vary from crockpot to crockpot? I need to have it ready at a certain time. Sorry for the million questions!

    3. It really varies from Crock Pot to Crock Pot. Usually, I advise you to check the dish to see if it's done close to the minimum cooking time (and if your Crock Pot runs hot or if you live at lower altitudes or a warmer climate, it might even be done a bit sooner - so you could check to see how it's coming at the 5 1/2 hour mark or so). You don't want to check too often, because the more you take the lid off, the more heat escapes, and the longer the cooking will take overall, but with a dish like this, it's okay to remove the lid a few times to check.

  2. Do I have to used powdered milk and water? Or can I just use regular milk up to the 4 cup mark?

  3. Yes, you can use regular milk. (Soy milk or almond milk would also work, if there are dairy issues to worry about.) I just like to use powdered milk for cooking, because it's usually less expensive, & I can keep it in my pantry, so I always have it on hand when I want it.