Ham and Cheese Danish

This buttery ham and cheese pastry was inspired by one of the most popular offerings at Chicago's Kasama, Genie Kwon and Tim Flores' bakery by day and fine dining restaurant at night. The flaky pastry balances sweet and savory flavors from the nutty Gruyère cheese sauce, salty ham, and crunchy turbinado sugar. It's lovely as a brunch offering, or serve it with Champagne for a party. At Kasama, they finish it off with a drizzle of black pepper caramel, but to make this at home, warm honey seasoned with black pepper creates a similar effect.

Ham and Cheese Danish
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 1 (14-oz.) pkg. frozen all-butter puff pastry (such as Dufour), thawed

  • All-purpose flour, for work surface and sprinkling

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 24 (1/2-oz.) thin serrano ham or other dry-cured ham slices


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Unfold pastry onto a lightly floured work surface; sprinkle pastry lightly with flour. Trim pastry edges to form a 12- x 9-inch rectangle; discard scraps. Cut dough into 12 (2- x 4 1/2-inch) pieces. Arrange dough pieces in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Whisk together egg and water in a small bowl; brush evenly over tops of pastry pieces. Sprinkle tops evenly with sugar. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.

  2. Transfer baking sheet to preheated oven; bake until pastry pieces are puffed and golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, process cheese in a food processor until cheese starts to clump together, about 1 minute. Place cream in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high. Immediately remove from heat; let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour cream into a small liquid measuring cup; with food processor running, carefully and slowly pour hot cream onto cheese, processing until cheese is fully melted and mixture is incorporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a spreadable consistency, about 45 minutes. (Alternatively, let mixture cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Then freeze, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 20 minutes.)

  4. Microwave honey in a small microwavable bowl on HIGH until hot and runny, about 20 seconds. Stir in pepper. Spread cheese mixture evenly onto pastry pieces (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each). Fold and drape 2 ham slices on top of each piece. Drizzle evenly with pepper honey. Serve immediately

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