One of the joys of every holiday is time spent with family and nothing brings everyone together like wonderfully prepared food. This year is a very different holiday, but you can still prepare an Easter Brunch for everyone in your household. Here are some of my favorite brunch ideas and a few recipes.
Easter Blueberry Braid
This wonderfully simple blueberry braid pastry is perfect for Easter brunch, but it is so delicious that you will want to prepare it whenever an occasion calls for home baked pastry!
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 (8 oz) tube, crescent dough sheet
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp raw sugar
For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1-2 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll out the crescent dough. Pinch together any holes or perforations.
In a bowl, cream together the 4 ounces of mascarpone cheese and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread into the center of the dough, leaving about 4 inches on each side. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut diagonal 1″ strips along the sides of the dough.
Rinse and drain the blueberries. In a bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cornstarch. Mix together to coat the berries. Pour the berry mixture over the center mascarpone cheese area of the dough. Sprinkle the berries with the sliced almonds.
Gently fold over each end of the dough on to the berries and fold in each strip of the dough until all the berries and almonds are encased. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the raw sugar granules. Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes.
While the pastry is baking, mix the glaze by creaming together the powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese and milk until smooth. When the breakfast braid comes out of the oven, drizzle with the glaze. Slice and serve.
Fluffy Pancakes with Aperol Syrup
These delightfully fluffy pancakes are perfectly complimented by Aperol maple syrup.
1-1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
3 tbsp melted butter, plus more for serving
2 cups maple syrup
6 tbsp Aperol
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolks and melted butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just combined.
Preheat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over a medium flame. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold the whites into the batter.
Grease the griddle and ladle on 1/4-cup portions of the pancake batter. Cook on 1 side until bubbles form and the pancakes are cooked around the edges, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook through one minute more.
To make the syrup, add 2 cups of maple syrup and 6 tablespoons of Aperol in a saucepan. Whisk and heat over a medium-low flame until bubbling. Reduce the flame to low and simmer until the syrup reduces to the desired thickness of consistency. Serve warm with butter over the pancakes.
Italian Breakfast Casserole
Prepare this breakfast casserole the night before and then just cook it in the morning. This is also a great recipe for Pasquetta if you have leftover ham!
1 loaf Italian bread (stale, torn bite-size)
1-1/2 cup leftover baked ham, chopped bite-size
1 large shallot, minced
6 oz Fontina cheese, grated
4 oz Asiago cheese, shredded/chopped
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup pancetta, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
Cook the pancetta in a skillet over a medium-high flame until crispy. Remove from the stove and allow it to cool for a few minutes, then finely chop. Place the Fontina cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up before shredding or grating.
Grease a 13” x 9” baking pan with butter. Evenly distribute the torn Italian bread pieces into the pan. Add the chopped ham, minced shallots, Fontina and Asiago cheese over bread; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk until well blended. Whisk in the salt and then add remainder of milk in several stages, whisking well after each. Slowly pour the milk and egg mixture into the pan with bread, ham and cheeses.
Scatter the Parmigiano cheese over casserole. Lightly press down on the casserole with large spoon to help the bread soak up the liquid. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the finely chopped pancetta to the casserole and replace the foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, rotate baking sheet and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes, then top with the chives and serve.
3/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
6 cups flour, maybe more depending on consistency
4 tsp baking powder
For the frosting
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 drops pink food coloring
Mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla, milk and sugar; then add flour and baking powder and mix together to create dough. The dough should be firm and not sticky. Place dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool. When you take the dough out, add flour to your hands and start shaping. The dough should not be sticky. Add more flour if necessary.
Bake at 350°F for 10-14 minutes. When finished, cookies will be slightly golden brown on the bottom, but white everywhere else. Cool cookies before adding icing.
For the frosting – Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and food coloring and slowly add small amounts milk, stirring until frosting thickens. Consistency should be runny, but not too thin. You want to be able to dunk the cookies and not have them break apart, but not have all the icing run off the top too quickly. Add some sprinkles to the top and enjoy!