3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1⁄2 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 slices country-style or homemade bread,
each 1 1⁄2 inches thick
8 thin slices ham
4 thin slices Swiss or Gruyère cheese
Raspberry preserves for serving
Preheat an electric panini press according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, nutmeg, brown sugar and salt until blended. Pour into a shallow baking dish.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut a slit in one long side of each bread slice.
Stuff 2 slices ham and 1 slice cheese in each pocket and press gently to close. Place the stuffed bread in the egg mixture and soak for 2 minutes per side.
If desired, lightly brush the panini press with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place the bread on the press and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until crisp and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut each one into a heart shape using a heart toast cutter. Serve immediately with raspberry preserves. Serves 4.