My Valentine’s Monte Cristo Panini

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


My Valentine’s Monte Cristo Panini
Adapted from Everyday Food

Serves 2


Dijon mustard
4 slices country bread (I used Bread & Cie’s country levain)
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
Ham, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Confectioner’s sugar
Raspberry preserves


Preheat the panini grill to medium heat (350 degrees).

Spread mustard on the bread. Layer 2 of the bread slices with Swiss cheese, ham, and cheese again. Place remaining bread slices on top.

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Dip each sandwich in the egg mixture, turning to coat well.

Carefully place the sandwich onto the panini grill.  Close the lid and grill for 4-5 minutes until the bread is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar and, if desired, spoon a little raspberry preserves in the shape of a heart in the center. Another idea is to stencil in a little heart motif with the confectioner’s sugar.  Happy Valentine’s Day – enjoy!



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. kellypea wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  2. aww that’s a gorgeous panini! Looks so sweet and delicious!

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  3. HoneyB wrote:

    Oh yum! I will have to try this one!

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  4. Marguerite wrote:


    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  5. Shreela wrote:

    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^)

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  6. PaniniKathy wrote:

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

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  7. Jordan wrote:

    That is GORGEOUS!
    I LOVE Monte Cristos…what a great idea!

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  8. This looks so delicious! And perfect for a valentine’s day breakfast 🙂

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  9. Suzy wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  10. Sara wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.8.09 Reply
  11. Erin wrote:

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

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  12. grace wrote:

    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). 🙂

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  13. mary wrote:

    i heart the jam heart.

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  14. Kevin wrote:

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

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  15. Chuck wrote:

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

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  16. That looks so good. I love the jelly heart too. Nice touch.

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  17. Val wrote:

    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}

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  18. Great post. Never seen it with jam before. Genius and gorge!

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  19. Nicole wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  20. Kate wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.9.09 Reply
  21. Jude wrote:

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

    Posted 2.10.09 Reply
  22. Pam wrote:

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

    Posted 2.10.09 Reply
  23. RecipeGirl wrote:

    Kathy- this is extremely cute!!!

    Posted 2.11.09 Reply
  24. Sandie wrote:

    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.

    Posted 2.11.09 Reply
  25. Jesse wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.11.09 Reply
  26. Emily wrote:

    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.

    Posted 2.11.09 Reply
  27. lo! wrote:

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

    Posted 2.11.09 Reply
  28. sharon wrote:

    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!

    Posted 2.12.09 Reply
  29. Elizabeth wrote:

    Golly, that panini’s real purty.

    Posted 2.13.09 Reply
  30. Nicole wrote:

    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.

    Posted 2.15.09 Reply
  31. RobinSue wrote:

    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?

    Posted 2.18.09 Reply
  32. Deborah wrote:

    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.

    Posted 3.24.09 Reply
  33. Ann wrote:

    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

    Posted 2.14.10 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      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!

      Posted 2.14.10 Reply