Bennigan's The Monte Cristo copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Bennigan's The Monte Cristo

Score: 4.83. Votes: 6
In stock (1 item available)
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Menu Description: "A delicious combination of ham and turkey, plus Swiss and American cheeses on wheat bread. Lightly battered and fried until golden. Dusted with powdered sugar and served with red raspberry preserves for dipping."

It sounds crazy, but it tastes great: a triple-decker ham, turkey, and cheese sandwich is dipped in a tempura-style batter; fried to a golden brown; then served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a side of raspberry preserves. For over ten years tons of cloning requests for this one have stacked up at TSR Central, so it was time for a road trip. There are no Bennigan's in Las Vegas, and since the Bennigan's chain made this sandwich famous, I headed out to the nearest Bennigan's in San Diego. Back home, with an ice chest full of original Monte Cristo sandwiches well-preserved and ready to work with, I was able to come up with this simple Bennigan's Monte Cristo recipe clone for a delicious sandwich that is crispy on the outside, and hot, but not greasy, on the inside (the batter prevents the shortening from penetrating). This recipe makes one sandwich, which may be enough for two. If you want to make more, you'll most likely have to make more batter so that any additional sandwiches get a real good dunking. Recently, Bennigan's restaurants across the country have been closing, but with this secret formula, you can still experience the taste of the Bennigan's Monte Cristo recipe.

Try more of my copycat recipes for famous sandwiches here.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 8 to 12 cups vegetable shortening (or the amount required by your fryer)
  • 3 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese (deli-style)
  • 3 ounces sliced turkey (deli-style)
  • 1 slice American cheese (deli-style)
  • 3 ounces sliced ham (deli-style)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
On Top
  • Powdered sugar
On the Side
  • Raspberry preserves
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
    • Instructions

      1. Heat 8 to 12 cups of shortening in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F. You will need the hot shortening to be at least 4 inches deep. 

      2. Make the sandwich by arranging the slice of Swiss cheese on a piece of wheat bread. Arrange the turkey breast on the Swiss cheese. Place a piece of wheat bread on the turkey. Place the slice of American cheese on the wheat bread. Arrange the ham slices on the American cheese. Top off the sandwich with the third slice of bread. Make sure the meat is not hanging over the edge of the sandwich. Press down on the sandwich with the palm of your hand to flatten it a bit.

      3. Make the batter by beating the egg yolks. Stir in the ice water. Measure the flour and baking soda into a sifter, and sift the mixture into the ice water and egg yolk. Stir with a large spoon, but don't mix it too well. You should still have many visible lumps in the batter.

      4. Slice the sandwich in half from corner to corner. Dip one half of the sandwich in the batter, while holding it together with your fingers (the batter will hold the sandwich together in the shortening). Coat the sandwich well, but let any excess batter fall off. Drop the battered sandwich half into the oil. If your pan or fryer can fit the other half of the sandwich, batter that piece and drop it into the fryer as well. If your fryer is small, you may only be able to fry only one half at a time. Fry the sandwich for 6 to 8 minutes, turning it over halfway through cooking time. It should be golden brown when done.

      5. Remove the sandwich halves to paper towels to drain. When you can touch the sandwich, slice each half in half making a total of four pieces. Dust the sandwich with powdered sugar and serve it with a small bowl of raspberry preserves.

      Makes 1 sandwich.

Average rating:

Score: 4.83. Votes: 6
Rating of votes (6)
5 customers
1 customers
0 customers
0 customers
0 customers
Dec 17, 2019, 14:12

Yes make sure you wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 24-48 hours. It will not just help keep your sandwich from falling apart but also keep the air bubbles out when you fry it. Make a difference. -Former Employee-

Tabitha & Wayne
Jan 22, 2006, 22:00

These were awesome. This is a restaurant favorite of ours. We were a little skeptical when we read the recipe but it worked like a charm. Taste just like out of the restaurant. Thanks.

I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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