This recipe shows you how to make Irish jambons. These tasty ham and cheese pastries are easy to make and can be prepared in advance. They freeze well!
What is jambon
In Ireland, it is a savory puff pastry pocket filled with ham and cheese. You will find this snack at every deli counter all over the country. They are typically enjoyed for breakfast.
They are definitely as popular as Irish breakfast in a baguette or sausage rolls. If you are visiting Ireland, make sure to buy a few!
4 reasons to make ham and cheese puff pastry bites
- They are perfect for kids lunch boxes, parties, picnics or whenever you need to use your leftover ham (Easter, Christmas,…)
- They are quick and easy to make – 15 pastries will be on your table in 30 minutes. This time also includes the prep!
- Because they are a crowd’s favorite snacks!
- Easy recipe.
How to make Irish jambons
- Puff pastry
- Mixing bowl & whisk/fork
- Grater – when grating the cheese yourself
- Two teaspoons – for easy spooning of the filling, a cookie scoop will also work
- Pastry brush
- Cup or small bowl – for egg wash
- Baking sheet/tray & baking parchment paper
First, in a bowl beat the eggs. Save some of the mixture for egg wash. About a tablespoon will be just enough.
To the same mixing bowl add diced ham and shredded cheese. Mix this well. The mixture will thicken and to some, it looks like scrambled eggs. But note that the jambon filling is made with raw eggs, not cooked like it may seem to look in the photos.
To make pockets for the filling, cut the puff pastry into squares. 3 to 3.5 inches/7.5 to 9 centimeters wide is a good size.
Place them on a baking sheet and spoon a teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of each pastry square.
Bring each corner of the pastry towards the center of the pocket and pinch together. Brush with egg wash and bake until nicely golden brown.
- A pizza cutter helps cut puff pastry faster and easier. If you have one, use it!
- To scoop out the jambon filling, the easiest thing to do is use 2 teaspoons. Scoop the mixture with one and use the other one to slide it off right to the middle of each square.
- In case you forgot to keep a bit of the egg for brushing these puff pastry pockets, use milk instead or don’t use anything. They might look paler but will still taste good!
- Make sure you preheat the oven before adding jambons in. It is an important step when making puff pastry recipes so do not skip this. It affects the outcome of your pastries. Putting them in a cold oven can cause that the pockets will not rise and puff as they should.
- Every oven is different and so is the pastry. This means it can take more/less time for your pastries to puff so keep an eye on them.
Frequently asked questions
These ham and cheese pastries are a great recipe to make ahead. They freeze very well! Flash-freeze them for an hour or so on a tray lined with parchment paper and then transfer into a resealable bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Bake them from frozen in a preheated oven at 400 Fahrenheit/200 Celsius for 20 – 30 minutes. The time can vary depending on their size.
Yes, you can! They will take about 10 minutes or so!
- Cheddar – You can use gouda, edam or even grated mozzarella. I prefer cheddar here. While you can substitute if you want, it is good to remember that different cheeses melt differently – some quicker than others, some more than others – meaning they can be runnier and ooze out of your savory pastries.
- Egg – You could omit the egg. However, bear in mind that when you do, these ham and cheese pastries won’t be so full looking so I would recommend adding more cheese.
- Egg wash – You can make Irish jambons with as well as without it. Or you can use milk instead.
- Ham – Bacon or pancetta will work great. No need to pre-cook the bacon, when cut thinly. It will cook in the oven.
What ham to use?
Breakfast ham or ham steak are great or ask at your local deli counter to cut it into ¼-inch slices. This puff pastry recipe works also well with any leftover Easter ham.
These baked ham and cheese pockets are best enjoyed while still warm, but they still taste delicious cold. Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last up to 2 days.
You can make these in advance and freeze before baking (When using chilled puff pastry only. Don’t re-freeze thawed pastry).
Flash freeze them on a tray for 1 hour, then transfer into a resealable freezer-friendly bag. Then simply bake from frozen!
What puff pastry should I use?
I use chilled ready-rolled puff pastry. It is easy to use, and it does not need any thawing nor rolling out.
You can use any kind you like or have available in your store. They are best baked at 400 Fahrenheit/200 Celsius. The cooking time can vary but these will need about 20 minutes.
More Irish recipes you might like to try:
More savory puff pastry snacks:
- Sausage Rolls
- Bacon Pinwheels
- Sweet Chili Breadsticks – Great on their own or with creamy soups!
- Tuna Empanadas – A favorite Spanish snack, these are made with puff pastry.
Watch how to make ham & cheese jambons
Ham and Cheese Jambon Pastries
- 2 eggs , see note 1
- 3/4 cup ham , diced (120 grams), see note 2
- 1.5 cups cheddar cheese , shredded (100 grams)
- 1 puff pastry sheet , chilled, pre-rolled (10 ounces/275 grams), see note 3
- Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit/200 Celsius.
- In a mixing bowl beat the eggs. Pour about a tablespoon into a cup, add 1 teaspoon of water and set aside. To the mixing bowl, add diced ham and shredded cheddar. Mix until well combined. The mixture will look thick. This is OK.
- Cut the puff pastry into squares (3-3.5 inch/7.5-9 cm wide is ideal). Place a heaped teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each square (Tip: scoop the filling with one teaspoon and transfer it onto the square sheet. Use the other teaspoon to slide the filling off onto the square).
- Bring each corner towards the center so they are overlapping each other. Press the last one down stronger to form parcels. Don’t press down too much, you want them to open up during baking. Note: It is totally fine if they don’t open.
- Brush each with egg wash (the saved egg and water mixture) and bake for about 20 minutes or until done.
- Enjoy warm or cold.
- You can use medium, large, extra-large eggs. When using small eggs, add 1 more. Note that the eggs are not cooked! It seems that some readers think the egg and cheese mixture in the video are scrambled eggs. That is not the case.
- You can also use diced bacon or pancetta, leftover Easter ham, breakfast ham or ham steaks.
- They are done when the bottom is golden brown and the pastry is nicely puffed.
- I like using chilled pre-rolled puff pastry. It is very easy to use and doesn’t require any thawing or rolling out. If you prefer working with frozen puff pastry, then go ahead and use that.
- If in doubt or having a question, check the post above this recipe card. It includes a lot of tips as well as FAQ’s and a video!