sandwich pockets = camp food part 1

I grew up taking epic camping trips every summer. Some of the more memorable ones include crossing the states from California to Virginia on multiple longitudinal routes. I remember the grilled tuna steaks, hobo packets, frito pies, banana boats, s'mores, but not one hotdog. I'm sure there were many hotdogs in the mix, but apparently not so memorable.. And so, I have developed a strong opinion that camp food does not equal hotdogs.

This summer we fell into the hipster-campervan category and have spent weekends glamping along the Kenai peninsula and up through the Richardson highway. Only once has hotdogs entered the picture. They were good, but not rockstar good. My sandwich pockets however are rockstar. Easy to make, easy to travel, and easy to eat. And here's how they happen:

*The photo above is actually a breakfast pocket that I made (next to a mini breakfast burrito). This includes: caribou breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheese. Same process, different ingredients, and an amazing super fast breakfast. We wrapped these in tinfoil and placed them our grill over low heat for about 5 minutes. No camp dish clean-up! Score!

Ham and Cheese Sandwich Pockets (4-6 pockets)

I haven't measured the quantity of ham and cheese per pocket exactly, but there is no perfect amount, its really up to you. So the quantities are general.

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (There are generally 2 sheets in one package. If you want to double the recipe then use both) Make sure these are COLD or you'll have a sticky mess. Putting them in the freezer for 30 minutes is best.

  • 1/2 - 1 pound ham (Or turkey, or chicken. Preferably thicker sliced as they hold up better in this instance.)

  • 1 package (about 8 oz) cheddar cheese. (I like something that leaves a memory on the pallet, so sharp cheddar cheese is usually my go-to.)

  • Dijon mustard.

1. Prepping Ham & Cheese: While you do this set the oven at 400 degrees and cool your dough in the freezer. If it is already frozen then place out on the counter to slightly thaw. Ham: set out 2-3 slices of ham per pocket and ribbon cut them (if they are super thin cut the just leave them whole). Cheese: 1 whole slice per sandwich or a small handful of matchstick pieces.

2. Pastry Prep: Unfold the dough so that it lays flat. Because it is pretty cold it should be relatively stiff. Generally the dough is folded into thirds lengthwise, so there are already a pretty good lines for you to use if you are cutting 6 pieces. If you are doing 4, just cut the sheet in quarters. After you have cut your 4-6 (or more) pieces put them to the side.

3. Rolling Out the Pastry: Prep a surface for rolling out the dough. Sprinkle flour on you surface, lay one of your cut sheets onto the surface, sprinkle a little more dough on the top, and then begin to roll out. You will want to almost double your pastry sheet in size. you will want the dough to be thin, slightly transparent, but not thin enough that it will tear.

4. Filling the Pastry: Lay out your pastry rectangles/squares and put a serving of ham and cheese on one side. On top of that you may put some dijon mustard if you like. Make sure to leave a good amount of space around the perimeter of the dough to seal.

5. Sealing the Pastry: Have a small bowl of water to the side. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the perimeter of the pastry square. Fold over the empty half of the pastry square so that the edges align on top of each other. Press firmly down around the entire perimeter to create a good seal. Place the pockets on a baking sheet making sure that there is about 2 inches a space in-between each.

6. Baking: Put the pan in the oven which should be up to temperature at 400 degrees. Cook for about 15 minutes and then and check on them every five minutes until they are a golden brown. Make sure that the bottom of the pockets are well done, not doughy/soft, or you will have a hard time transporting them. When you take them out of the oven put them onto a cooling rack. The cooling rack is important because you don't want the dough to get soft & sticky because, again, it will not travel well. There is a lot of steam in the pockets and you want it to release in the air, not in-between your pocket and the baking pan. Make sure they are cooled before placing into a bag or container.

These hold up for up to 4-5 days if kept in a cold cooler or fridge.