My Valentine’s Monte Cristo Panini

by on February 8, 2009

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My “valentine” (aka, my dear husband of almost 3 years) suggested Monte Cristos when I conferred with him for ideas for my annual Valentine’s Day panini (see last year’s Chocolate Raspberry Croissant Panini for Two!).  Hot ham and swiss sandwiches grilled French toast style with powdered sugar and jam sounded sufficiently decadent  to be considered special occasion fare. It’s a simple way to say “I love you”, but man is it a tasty one.

It’s funny how my concept of celebrating special occasions has changed over the years. As a little kid I tricked out my bedroom for each and every holiday. Markers, construction paper and Scotch tape were my best friends. I would cover the walls with cutouts of hearts, shamrocks, Easter eggs, autumn leaves, snowmen.  Whatever the season my little blunt scissors and I were ready to ring it in.

My Valentine's Monte Cristo Panini

In junior high, all the holiday regalia shifted to my earlobes. Oh yes, I was “that girl” with the big, orange dangly jack-o-lantern earrings at Halloween.  Bear in mind this was the 80’s, folks.  I was ecstatic when an accessories store called Piera opened up in our local strip mall with walls of terrifically gaudy costume jewelry for the bargain price of $1!  Even with our paltry allowances, my friends and I could do a bit of damage in this place.  And so we did.

Now that I’m a wisened adult in my 30’s I’ve toned down my celebration style to a great degree…but I still look forward to holidays and doing something a little special.  Just simpler.  My husband and I don’t really “do” Valentine’s Day with all the typical fanfare (roses, chocolates, reservations) anymore.  Instead, we just write each other a nice card and enjoy a quiet evening at home. Because all the commercial hoopla aside, Valentine’s Day is really about love. Love and decadent food. 🙂

My Valentine's Monte Cristo Panini

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kellypea February 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I have never made these but remember them on the menu of a coffee house called Alphy’s here in SD years ago. I know my husband would love them. Guess I’ll have to fire up my panini press!


2 pigpigscorner February 8, 2009 at 2:37 pm

aww that’s a gorgeous panini! Looks so sweet and delicious!


3 HoneyB February 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Oh yum! I will have to try this one!


4 Marguerite February 8, 2009 at 4:32 pm



5 Shreela February 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

I’ve made the battered kind of Monte Christos for a few years, and just recently heard about the french toast style of Monte Christos, and had to try it out because it seemed so much easier than the battered/deep-fried version.

But, the french toast version were very disappointing compared to the battered/deep-fried.

Not sure if a battered sandwich could be made in a panini iron though. If it could, you’d certainly be the one to figure out how 8^)


6 PaniniKathy February 8, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Shreela – I haven’t tried the battered/deep-fried approach but the French toast style tasted pretty great to me!


7 Jordan February 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I LOVE Monte Cristos…what a great idea!


8 My Gourmet Love Affair February 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm

This looks so delicious! And perfect for a valentine’s day breakfast 🙂


9 Suzy February 8, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I love Monte Cristos as well..but like Shreela I cut my teeth on the battered kind that Bennigan’s serves. I think this one you prepared might be pretty tasty though. And very very pretty!


10 Sara February 8, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Ohhh that looks so fantastic. I haven’t made a monte cristo in a long time and I’m craving one now (yes, at midnight!) Love it. Beautiful pics too!


11 Erin February 9, 2009 at 5:13 am

Just adorable. That little heart in the center is too cute!


12 grace February 9, 2009 at 6:18 am

i’m envisioning your tacky earrings and loving it. 🙂
i’m also loving everything about this sandwich–it’s simple yet completely satisfying (and the heart is a sweet touch). 🙂


13 mary February 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

i heart the jam heart.


14 Kevin February 9, 2009 at 11:04 am

That looks really good. I like the sweet and savoury combo.


15 Chuck February 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

How cute is this sandwich! I just recently bought a panini press and love it. The melted cheese looks amazing!


16 The Food Hunter February 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm

That looks so good. I love the jelly heart too. Nice touch.


17 Val February 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Haven’t had 1 of those in years. Never would have entered my head as a panini possibility. Thanks for jogging my memory & showing me the light!!!!! ;o}


18 The Duo Dishes February 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Great post. Never seen it with jam before. Genius and gorge!


19 Nicole February 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I love making Monte Cristo Sandwiches at home! I still don’t have a panini press, but I make mine the same way except cook it in a cast iron skillet with a bit of butter. Sometimes we use both turkey and ham! So good with powdered sugar and raspberry jam!


20 Kate February 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Oooooooooooooooh. That looks good. AND you gave me an idea. I have a few slices of frozen low fat French Toast (hello, TJ’s anyone) that on their own, are not that amazing, but say, couldn’t I just turn them into a hacked version of a Monte Cristo? By jove I can! Thank you!


21 Jude February 10, 2009 at 1:06 am

What a cute way to serve monte cristos. the chocolate raspberry croissant sounds great, too!


22 Pam February 10, 2009 at 9:11 am

I think this looks pretty and tasty. A great Valentines day sandwich.


23 RecipeGirl February 11, 2009 at 9:30 am

Kathy- this is extremely cute!!!


24 Sandie February 11, 2009 at 11:36 am

Kathy, this is the cutest Valentine’s sandwich ever. Not only is it adorable, but all that melted Swiss, ham and powdered sugar makes my mouth water.


25 Jesse February 11, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Wow, I would never have thought of combining the salty ham and cheese with powdered sugar and jam… but oh man, how I wish I can have a bite out of that beauty!


26 Emily February 11, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I like your Valentine’s Day plans. I totally agree!

Do you know how crazy I am about this panini?! It looks amazing and perfect for the holiday. Fantastic job.


27 lo! February 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm

I love the concept behind this… and it looks so GOOD! You’ve done it again, Kathy!


28 sharon February 12, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Aw, I love the heart! Monte Cristos are the perfect sweet & savory combination.

I tried to make heart shaped pancakes…not as easy as I thought!


29 Elizabeth February 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Golly, that panini’s real purty.


30 Nicole February 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Not something I eat often but I have been craving this! Your Monte Cristo is darling! It has been years and years for me. Perfect post.


31 RobinSue February 18, 2009 at 8:26 am

Love this sandwich! Makes such a hearty breakfast, brunch or snack! Very nicely done. Plus the movie The Count of Monte Cristo is a good one. Seen it?


32 Deborah March 24, 2009 at 4:41 am

I love this recipe! I will be purchasing a panini maker today. After reviewing your blog, it’s making me even more excited to make this purchase.

Monte Cristos are one of my absolute favorite sandwiches and a panini version of the deep-fried wonder is just excellent. I love your blog. I will be checking back again for more tasty recipes.


33 Ann February 14, 2010 at 9:33 am

I found your website yesterday and ran out this morning to buy the ingredients for this pannini …… The monte christo is my husbands favorite and I was a little apprehensive, but let me tell you – he said it was the best monte christo he’s ever had! The only thing I did was added oscar mayer’s deli turket slices and alpine lace swiss cheese – it was to die for! He loved the raspberry heart – this is a must try – we even made some and delivered them hot to our neighbors this morning! Thanks for your awesome website and recipe – Happy Valentine’s Day! Ann


34 Kathy February 14, 2010 at 9:48 am

Thanks for your sweet note, Ann! So glad it was a hit with your husband, that’s great to hear. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!


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