When my Hubby and I were dating in high school, we would eat out a lot (although it didn't seem like it at the time). One of the places that our group of friends frequented was Bennigan's and I would almost always get their Monte Cristo sandwich. It doesn't seem like it would be that delicious, but there's something about frying a regular meat and cheese sandwich in a batter that tastes like a combination of an Elephant Ear (another one of my great food loves) and French toast that I couldn't argue with. It is a guilty pleasure that we recreated with great success. It tasted exactly like it did at Bennigan's back then. Next time you can't decide if you're hungry for lunch or if you just want to skip right to dessert, try this out. It'll fulfill both needs.
Monte Cristo Sandwich
1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
⅔ cup water
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 slices white bread
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices turkey
4 slices ham
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar for dusting
~Heat about ¼-inch of oil in a skillet to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C). While oil is heating, make the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator.
~Assemble sandwiches by placing one slice of turkey on one slice of bread, a slice of ham on another, then sandwich them with the Swiss cheese in the middle. Cut sandwiches into quarters.
~Dip each sandwich quarter in the batter so that all sides are coated. Gently pan-fry in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides.
~Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels for a few seconds. Arrange on a serving tray. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving. Serve with currant jelly, if desired.