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Make-Ahead Cubano Croissants

These croissants can be baked immediately or stashed in the fridge overnight for brunch tomorrow. The finished croissants will be softer if they are cooked snugly in a baking dish with high sides, whereas if they are spaced out on a baking sheet, they’ll have a crispy edge. Choose as you’d like.



Sweet Jalapeño Relish

  • 270-ml jar sweet pickled jalapeños


  • Half a small onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 fresh jalapeño slices, about 1/4 inch thick, or to taste
  • 2 cups (454 g) milk
  • 1 cup (227 g) heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons (43 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (24 g) all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces (170 g) Gruyère, Swiss or Comté cheese, 6 thin slices for garnish and the remainder coarsely grated
  • 4 ounces (113 g) Fontina cheese coarsely grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed


  • 6 large croissants, preferably a day old
  • Approximately 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 18 cornichons or garlic gherkins, sliced lengthwise thinly
  • 9 ounces (255 g) sliced roast pork, pulled pork, or carnitas
  • 12 slices (approximately 200g) deli ham of choice
  • Cornichons, stuffed olives, pickled asparagus or pickled onions for garnish, optional


Sweet Jalapeño Relish

  1. Tip a 270-ml jar of sweet pickled jalapeños into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, reserving some pickling liquid. Pulse and process to a coarse paste, adding juice as necessary to achieve a relish consistency. Any remaining brine is excellent in vinaigrettes and marinades. 


  1. Set a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot and dry, sear the onion, garlic cloves and jalapeño slices until charred on the cut sides. Pull the pan off the heat, stir in the milk and heavy cream, being careful if it sputters, then warm over low until steaming. 
  2. In a second medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook until bubbling and starting to toast, about 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly add the hot milk in ladlefuls, leaving the solids behind. Continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly, so the sauce comes to a boil and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes more. Stir in the grated cheeses (reserving the slices for later), a handful at a time, and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper, set aside to cool. 


  1. Split the croissants in half. Spread the bottom halves with mustard. Reserve about six tablespoons of the sauce for garnish, then spread the remaining sauce across the top and bottoms of the croissants. On the bottom halves, divide the cornichon slices evenly. Top with sliced ham, then the roast pork. Top with the second croissant half, pressing down gently. Spoon the reserved sauce in a lengthwise line, one tablespoon per croissant, and adorn with a cheese slice. 
  2. Arrange completed sandwiches on either a baking dish or sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  3. Preheat an oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle. Place a piece of parchment paper slightly smaller than the baking dish over the croissants. Cover the tray with aluminum foil. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes; remove the foil and parchment paper and bake uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes more. At this point, the cheese should be melted, and the sandwich should steam. If desired, garnish with pickles skewered on cocktail sticks, and the Sweet Jalapeño Relish recipe follows. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

TIP: Small pickles are crunchier than large ones and, thus, are my preference here. Plus, they don’t slide around as much. That said, large half-sours are pretty delicious. 



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