5 recipes to make for Easter brunch
Easter is this Sunday, and whether you are hosting or just bringing a dish to share, here are some of our holiday favorites.
Makes 4 sandwiches
Not your average grilled cheese, this French bistro staple is inspired by a recipe of Julia Child’s. Served for breakfast, brunch or dinner, this saucy grilled ham and cheese with an egg on top has a bit of Paris in each bite. You also could make it with roast turkey or chicken or even smoked salmon. Traditionally, the eggs are cooked sunny-side up, with the eggs still runny, but feel free to cook them all the way through, if you prefer.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
8 slices firm white sandwich bread
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 ounces sliced ham
4 large eggs
To make the cheese sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and then whisk in flour and cook, whisking, 30 seconds. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened, 2 minutes. Whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg and 1/2 cup cheese until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using remaining 3 tablespoons butter, butter 1 side of each piece of bread. Spread unbuttered sides of bread with mustard. Top 4 slices with ham and then top with 1/4 cup cheese. Sandwich with remaining bread slices, buttered side up. Heat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat. Heat a heavy non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook sandwiches until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet, spoon sauce evenly over tops and then sprinkle with remaining cheese (1/4 cup per slice). Broil until cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes.
While sandwiches are broiling, cook eggs. Wipe out skillet and place over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet. Cover and cook until whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, place 1 egg on top of each sandwich and serve.
Orange Custard with Mixed Berries
6 cups fresh berries (try 2 cups each of either raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
18 crisp ladyfingers
1 recipe Orange Custard Mousse
Fresh mint to garnish
1. Set aside a few berries for garnish. In a bowl, toss remaining berries with half the sugar and all the liqueur. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. To make the syrup: In a microwave-safe bowl, place the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon and orange juices, and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sugar dissolves.
3. Place ½ cup berries into each of six custard cups, parfait glasses or mason jars. It’s best if the cup size is about 12 ounces. Dunk the ladyfingers in the syrup, then place three ladyfingers inside each glass. Add ½ cup Orange Custard Mousse (recipe below) to each glass. Top each with a large spoonful of berries and 2 more tablespoons of mousse to cover.
4. Cover the glasses with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, garnish with fresh berries and fresh mint.
Orange Custard Mousse
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
¼ cup Grand Marnier
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Zest from 1 orange
1. In a bowl, place the egg yolks and quickly whisk in the sugar. Add the juice and liqueur. Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick. Do not allow the custard to boil. Remove the bowl from the heat and place in a large shallow bowl of ice water. Stir to help it cool quickly.
2. Beat the mascarpone with a mixer for 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, and beat until you have firm peaks. Add the cooled custard and orange zest and mix until blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Banana Bread Pancakes
Makes 16 pancakes
2 cups pancake mix
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup warm maple syrup
In a medium-sized bowl, combine pancake mix, buttermilk, eggs, mashed bananas and cinnamon, stirring with whisk until most lumps disappear. Do not overmix.
Heat griddle or nonstick pan on medium heat. Lightly grease or brush with butter. Pour ¼ cup batter to make each pancake. Turn when bubbles form in the middle of pancake. Pancakes are done when bottoms are golden brown. Serve with syrup, sliced bananas and pecans.
Citrus layer cake
Take a tender butter cake, add a load of lemon and a touch of orange, and you have a luscious, lemony cake perfect for any celebration.
8 egg yolks
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour three (8-inch) cake pans or spray generously with nonstick spray.
Beat egg yolks at high speed with an electric mixer for 4 minutes or until thick and pale. Set aside.
Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well combined. Add egg yolks, beating well.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture a cup at a time, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in orange zest, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Spoon batter into cake pans.
Bake for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire racks, and cool completely.
Spread with frosting between cake layers and on top. (Recipe follows.)
1 cup butter, softened
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
2 pounds (32-ounce package) powdered sugar
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Stir in orange and lemon zests and juices. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until it’s a good consistency for spreading. You might need to add more citrus juice or powdered sugar, depending on thickness or thinness of frosting.
Sweet Tomato Relish on Brioche
1 tablespoon diced garlic
2 tablespoons diced shallots
¼ cup diced onions
2 pints cherry tomatoes
½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 loaf brioche
½ cup butter
12 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
In a pan, saute garlic, shallots and onions for 2 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes, vinegar, honey and lemon juice and cook until syrupy. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to chill, or serve at room temperature.
Cut bread into 2-inch cubes. Saute bread in butter until golden brown on both sides.
Top bread with tomato relish and finish with crumbles of goat cheese.