This is the second Easter that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, so many people are again opting to celebrate the holiday cooking at home. If you’re looking for some brunch ideas we have just the ticket.
From our archives, we gleaned some go-to favorites that are brunch-style, and will impress and wow family, friends and guests. Best of all, they don’t take all day to make. Some require assembly but are so worth it.
One ultimate recipe, the Asparagus Tart, celebrates the tasty harbinger of spring. With just five ingredients, the recipe comes together in a snap.
Asparagus and Fontina Tart
Serves: 6 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes
You can also cut this tart into smaller squares and serve it as an appetizer.
Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
5½ ounces (2 cups) Fontina or Gruyere cheese, shredded
1½ pounds medium asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at ½-inch intervals.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove pastry shell from oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake until spears are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Poached Eggs with Crispy Prosciutto and Waffles
Makes: 6 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes
6 thin slices prosciutto (about 3 ounces)
4 large egg yolks
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ to ½ cup melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1½ cups arugula
6 plain or buttermilk-style frozen waffles cooked according to package directions
Chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the slices of prosciutto on the parchment. Bake about 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crispy, like bacon. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the hollandaise sauce: Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the egg yolks and, whisking continually, heat about 3 minutes making sure not to cook them. Whisk in the heavy cream, lemon juice and Dijon. Continue whisking and slowly drizzle in the butter adding enough so the mixture begins to thicken and emulsify. Continue to cook, about 1 minute more. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, season with salt and pepper; set aside, but keep warm. If the mixture breaks (it will look like little pieces of scrambled egg, whisk in an ice cube until it comes back together.
To poach the eggs: bring a large skillet of water to simmering — little bubbles should form. Add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, cup or ramekin. Use the bowl as a guide to add the egg to the simmering water, using a spoon to make sure the white stays with the yolk. Cook about 5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
To serve: Place waffles on serving plates. Add about ¼ cup of arugula and one slice of prosciutto. Top with a poached egg and a drizzle of hollandaise sauce.
From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Tarragon Deviled Eggs
Makes: 12 / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped shallots or green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of hot red pepper sauce, optional
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the cooked yolks to a medium bowl and mash them with a fork. Set aside the egg white halves.
Add the shallots and tarragon to the egg yolks and mix together. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, garlic powder, hot red pepper sauce, salt and black pepper. Mix until slightly smooth.
Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. If desired, sprinkle the tops with paprika.
Cook’s note: If the mixture is not creamy enough for your taste, add more mayonnaise as desired. Adjust the seasonings as necessary to your taste.
From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Salted Caramel Bacon Bread Pudding
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 30 minutes / Total time: 2 hours (not all active time)
Brace yourself. This is the ultimate bread pudding. It’s sweet, salty and savory all in one bite. You’ll get at least 8 servings out of the recipe, and you can easily cut the pieces into appetizer-size portions. Be sure to use bread that’s several days old so it’s dry. You can also dry bread in the oven at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
2 cups cane or granulated sugar
¼ cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon sea salt
7 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 to 12 brioche rolls (dinner roll size), 2 days old, cut into 2-inch cubes (or use other favorite rolls)
¼ cup finely chopped cooked bacon, plus 4 to 6 strips cooked thick-cut bacon for garnish
Sea salt to taste
To make caramel sauce: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid, combine the sugar and ¼ cup water. Stir gently until mixture is consistency of wet sand. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat to low and cook until sugar begins to caramelize and take on color of dark honey.
Remove from heat and stir in butter with a long-handled whisk. When the butter is fully melted, stir in 1 cup cream and finish with ½ teaspoon sea salt. Let sauce cool for 20 minutes before tasting or using. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
To make bread pudding: In large bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar, whipping cream and vanilla until completely combined. Add bread cubes and chopped bacon and toss to let bread soak up egg mixture. Lightly press bread mixture into the bowl. Cover surface of bread mixture with plastic and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan (metal preferred). Spread ¼ cup caramel sauce on bottom of pan, followed by half the bread mixture, then ¼ cup caramel sauce, a pinch of sea salt, then the rest of the bread mixture, and another pinch of sea salt. Drizzle ¼ cup caramel sauce on top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and back 30 minutes more.
Serve any extra caramel sauce on the side.
Adapted from “Egg Shop, the Cookbook,” by Nick Korbee (William Morrow, $35.)
Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Lime Coconut Sour Cream Bundt Cake
Serves: 16 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes (plus cooling time)
Sweeten up your brunch spread with this recipe for Lime Coconut Sour Cream Bundt Cake. After zesting the limes in this recipe, squeeze the juice and reserve for another use. You can also add a bit of lime juice to the glaze.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
Zest of 3 medium limes
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 medium lime
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest mixing together with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add the sugar mixture gradually to the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating until well blended after each addition. Fold in the coconut.
Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon or offset spatula.
Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the lime glaze.
In a medium bowl, combine all the glaze ingredients and stir until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add more cream 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. It should be pourable enough so it drips down the side of the cake.
Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Susan Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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