Hello brunch, my weekend friend! Whether you enjoy a simple brunch at home or a more elaborate brunch buffet at a restaurant, brunch is a great way to start your weekend. It’s a time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family. It’s also a time to indulge (and perhaps over-indulge) in some of your favorite combinations of breakfast and lunch foods. Let’s go over the history of brunch and look at brunch recipes from chefs around the world.
The History of Brunch
What exactly is brunch, and where did this merging of two meals begin?
Brunch is a mid-morning meal, sometimes accompanied by alcoholic drinks (typically champagne or a cocktail). Brunch is typically served between the hours of 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM, although it can start earlier and end later because that, my friends, is the beauty of this type of dining.
The meal originated in the British hunt breakfast. The word brunch is a blending of the words breakfast and lunch. The word brunch originated in England in the late 19th century and became popular in the United States in the 1930s. The latter was due in part to the fact that many people were working long hours during the week, and they appreciated the opportunity to sleep in on Sunday mornings. Brunch also became popular as a social event, as people would often gather with friends and family to enjoy a leisurely meal.
Today, brunch is a popular meal around the world, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Brunch can be a simple meal, such as eggs and toast, or it can be a more elaborate affair, with pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast items—or even a buffet brunch with a variety of foods.
Read on as chefs from around the world share their favorite brunch recipes and tips to create the perfect at-home brunch for our upcoming holiday celebrations with family and friends.
Tips for Creating a Perfect Brunch
Brunch is a delicious and leisurely meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether hosting a brunch for friends or family or simply enjoying a special breakfast out, there are many delicious dishes to choose from.
Before getting started, ask yourself what type of brunch you’re hosting.
- Are you having a family gathering with four to six guests? Then a family-style, pass-the-dish brunch will be intimate and welcoming. In this case, a sit-down meal makes the most sense.
- Is your gathering a large group? Then organize a buffet line. Arrange cutlery and plates at the head of the table. Organize the buffet line so that guests flow smoothly, mingle and sample your amazing dishes at their own pace. This will also free you, the host, to mingle and still keep an eye on replenishing your buffet items.
Chef and owner of the three-Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn, Dominique Crenn, offers these four tips for creating a perfect brunch:
- Keep it simple: Brunch is all about enjoying delicious food in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Stick to simple, easy-to-prepare dishes that can be made beforehand so you can enjoy time with your guests.
- Offer a variety of dishes: Brunch is the perfect time to offer a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Try serving a mix of breakfast favorites like pancakes and waffles alongside heartier dishes like quiches and frittatas.
- Use high-quality ingredients: Brunch is a time to indulge, so make sure to use high-quality ingredients to create delicious, flavorful dishes that your guests will love.
Planning Your Brunch Menu
Base your menu on your guests. Are they carnivores or vegetarians? Do they prefer coffee or mimosas? Serve a combination of savory and sweet brunch options.
What’s more welcoming than the smell of home-baked pastries and bread? Your guests are sure to breathe in, smile and immediately say to you (the host), “Wow, that smells delicious!” Consider scones as your introduction to your home. Just pop it in the oven for that mouth-watering aroma when guests arrive.
Fresh fruit is always a win: bright, colorful, and tasty, and pairs well with breakfast dishes. Display in colorful platters or bowls. Add a self-serve yogurt and/or oatmeal bar with granola, dried fruit, nuts, honey, etc.
Brunch prep suggestions:
Edible Times Chef Christina offers these time-saving tips for brunch buffet prep:
- Make-ahead dishes and prep are the queens of the brunch kitchen. Prep as much as you can the day and night before. Chefs have 85% of your food cooked before you walk into the restaurant (otherwise, you’d be waiting a long time to eat). Dishes like quiche can be baked ahead and reheated wonderfully in a 350°F oven. Potatoes for home fries can be cut the night before and stored in water.
- Bread for breakfast bakes actually absorbs batter better when sliced and dried out overnight.
- The wet and dry ingredients for pancakes and waffles can be measured the day before. Then combine them right before you cook.
- Aim for a combination of hot and cold dishes so you don’t have four or five hot dishes you’re trying to cook and keep warm while entertaining a group of guests.
- A charcuterie platter, spicy Gulf shrimp cocktail, and oven-baked French toast is a great combination of dishes that make a wonderful brunch but don’t call for endless kitchen drudgery.
Brunch Appetizers & Starters
Let’s get the brunch party hopping with these fun and simple appetizers and starters courtesy of the following chefs.
Recipe: Bruschetta with Burrata, Fuyu Persimmon and Amaretto Honey
Bruschetta with Burrata, Fuyu Persimmon and Amaretto Honey, Photo credit: Christos Bisiotis
Chef Christos Bisiotis, the founder of The CB Concepts in Coral Springs, FL, shared this perfect brunch item because “it’s easy, it’s fresh, and it’s colorful like Mother Nature’s heart.”
- 2 slices of sourdough bread
- 1 garlic clove
- 8 ounces of burrata
- 1 fuyu persimmon*
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 tablespoon of amaretto liquor
- 1 teaspoon of red crushed pepper
- For garnish, 1 fried sage leaf
- In a small bowl, add honey, amaretto liquor, and red crushed pepper, mix well, and set aside.
- For the bread, you can either grill or toast on a pan with olive oil until both sides are crispy.
- When the bread is ready, cut the garlic clove in half, and smother the bread on both sides in order to get the garlic-y flavor.
- Cut your fuyu persimmon into 8 pieces and sear them on the pan with olive oil. When it is nicely charred, place it on top of the bread, cut your burrata into four pieces, and drizzle it with your amaretto honey.
Tip 1: Leave the burrata at room temperature prior to serving.
Tip 2*: If you cannot find fuyu persimmon, feel free to use a beautiful peach.
Recipe: Egg and Caviar
Step up your brunch game with Chef Dominique Crenn’s favorite brunch recipe: “Egg and Caviar” from the book Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste. This dish reflects Chef Crenn’s French culinary background and her commitment to using high-quality ingredients. It’s also a tribute to her father, who used to make a similar dish for her growing up in France.
This simple brunch dish features a soft-boiled egg served with a dollop of crème fraîche and a spoonful of caviar, served alongside toasted brioche.
Crème Fraîche Recipe
- 1 pint store-bought crème fraiche
- 1 lemon, zested and sliced into wedges
- Fleur de sel or kosher salt, to taste
Make the crème fraîche:
- Season the store-bought crème fraîche with lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and fleur de sel or kosher salt.
- Whisk until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Gently transfer the crème fraîche into a pastry bag, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve.
Crenn says, “It’s the perfect brunch dish because it’s luxurious and indulgent yet simple and easy to prepare. The combination of the creamy egg yolk, tangy crème fraîche, and salty caviar is a classic French flavor profile that will impress your brunch guests.”
RECIPE: Pickled Beets with Citrus & Goat Cheese
Chef Patrick Balcom, co-owner of Farow Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, says, “Citrus season hits at just the right time of year. With winter being cold and dark and most seasonal produce being root vegetable oriented, the brightness of citrus is an extremely welcome contrast to any dish. Here it adds a welcome pop of color and sweetness to tangy, earth-pickled beets and creamy goat cheese.”
Farow co-owner Lisa Balcom says, “These tangy, sweet, pickled beets swished in creamy whipped goat cheese would be the perfect way to start the day (or finish it, for that matter). The fresh pops of citrus are the perfect complement, straddling the line between breakfast and lunch.”
Pickled Beets Recipe
Serves 4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice (optional) this can be whole cloves, peppercorns, coriander, etc., whatever you want to flavor it with.
- 2 pounds of beets, any color or a mix (try to find ones all around the same size so they cook at the same time)
- 3 citrus items (we use a combo of Meyer lemon, blood orange, and cara cara orange) segmented or cut into wheels with the peel removed.
Lightly rinse your beets if they are extra dirty to get the dirt off. Remove the tops (if on) and save them for another use (I personally love them sautéed with butter.)
Place beets in a baking dish with ½-inch of water. Wrap with foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1-2 hours until beets are tender.
- Tips for making the beets. The best way to make beets is to put them whole—skin and all—into a baking dish and cover them about halfway with water. Wrap the whole pan with foil and bake at 350 F. The size of your beets will determine how long you have to cook them, but it will probably be close to an hour. They should be tender enough that a fork can easily pierce them without much effort. Once the beets come out of the oven, allow them to cool slightly, but while they’re still warm, gently rub the skins off. If you’ve cooked them long enough, the skins should slide right off.
While the beets are cooking, combine all the ingredients except for the citrus in the pickling liquid in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let spices steep for 15 minutes.
Remove beets from the oven once they’re tender. Once cool enough to handle, gently wipe the skins off with a paper towel. They should come off with little effort once they’re baked long enough. Cut beets into quarters and place them in a non-reactive container. Strain the pickling liquid over them. Set aside in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
Goat Cheese Recipe:
- 6-oz goat cheese, softened
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil
- Pinch salt
Whisk together all the ingredients. Set aside.
Assembly: When ready to serve, smear 2 tbsp goat cheese on the plate. Place strained beets and citrus segments over top. Garnish with some whole pink peppercorns and toasted pistachio (optional).
The BEST pairing for this dish is a high acidity rosé, according to Balcom. “Whether it’s a delicious rosé cava or a crisp rosé from Sancerre, rosé is the PERFECT compliment.”
Main Brunch Dishes
Bring on the main brunch dishes, and you can paint your own canvas as it’s brunch, and (almost) anything goes! Some of the top brunch staples are pancakes, French Toast, waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes — and many creative combinations of these dishes.
Blume Famous Banana Foster French Toast
Don’t want to choose between a cinnamon roll or French toast for brunch? Self-taught Chef Nery Burgos, Breakfast at Blume owner, has you covered with her perfect brunch dish: Blume’s Famous Banana Foster French Toast.
According to Chef Burgos, “It is the absolute best cross between the two. The golden color of the caramelized bananas paired with the cinnamon flavor makes you feel like a kid again. You’re going to absolutely tell the person sitting next to you that they have to try this. Our Banana Foster French Toast is the ultimate brunch French toast.”
Brunch at this Wilmington, Delaware restaurant is (almost) sinful, but Chef Burgos offered Prime Women readers the recipe to try at home.
Blume Famous “Banana Foster French Toast”
To start, make fresh cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients
For the dough:
- ¾ cup warm milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) (110 degrees F)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons quick rise or active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup butter, melted (I prefer salted, but unsalted works, too)
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar also works)
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter, softened
Cream cheese frosting:
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 16 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean
Additional Ingredients needed:
- Challah bread
- Brown sugar
- Two tablespoons. Cointreau
- Warm milk to around 110°F. I like to do this by placing milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwaving it for 40-45 seconds. It should be like warm bath water. Transfer warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, egg, egg yolk, and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Next, stir in flour and salt with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
- Place the dough hook on the stand mixer and knead the dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. The dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. If it’s TOO sticky (meaning it’s sticking to the bottom of the mixer, add in 2 tablespoons more bread flour.) If you don’t want to use an electric mixer, you can use your hands to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a well-floured surface.
- Transfer dough ball to a well-oiled bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size. This may need more or less time, depending on the humidity and temperature in your home.
- After the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a well-floured surface and roll it out into a 14×9-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over the dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands to sprinkle the mixture over the buttered dough, then rub the brown sugar mixture into the butter.
- Tightly roll the dough up, starting from the 9-inch side, and place the seam side down, making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can. You will probably need to cut off about an inch off the ends of the dough as the ends won’t be as full of cinnamon sugar as you’d want them to be.
- Cut into 1-inch sections with a serrated knife or floss. You should get 9 large pieces.
- Place cinnamon rolls in a greased 9×9 inch baking pan or round 9-inch cake pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel, and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap and towel and bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. You want to underbake them a little so they stay soft in the middle; that’s why you want them just slightly golden brown. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before frosting. Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.
- To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
- Once the cinnamon rolls have cooled down, give them a rough chop into cubes and mixed in with cube challah bread. Place your bread in a deep dish baking pan, and make sure to coat your baking pan with baking spray.
- For the custard: mix 16 ounces of heavy whipping cream, 2 cups of whole milk, eight eggs, and one cup of maple syrup. Add 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract and add one vanilla bean. Hand mix with a whisk for two minutes.
- Pour the entire mixture over the challah bread and the cinnamon rolls. Be sure not to press down on the bread. Let the mixture absorb in the bread for one hour.
- After the liquid has been absorbed, place your deep dish in a water bath and bake at 375°F for one hour.
- Remove from the oven and let French toast sit for 15 minutes.
- To set, cut a nice chunk of French toast. Take some freshly sliced bananas and sauté them in butter, brown sugar, and two tablespoons of Cointreau. Lay the bananas on top of your French toast and enjoy.
Mrs. Bierderhof’s Wild Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Chef Donna and her team brought brunch to the forefront of Canadian hospitality over four decades ago. “Brunch is no longer a Sunday-only meal, brunch has become the new way to gather family and friends. Mrs. Bierderhof’s Buttermilk Pancakes are one of our signature dishes at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen for over 30 years! During the pandemic, when our restaurant was closed, our customers missed them, so we had to start selling the mix so people could make them at home.”
Recipe: Mrs. Bierderhof’s Wild Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes a stack of 12.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter.
- Using a spatula, combine the dry and wet ingredients together to make a thick, lumpy batter, taking care not to overmix. Lumps are good!
- In a non-stick skillet, melt some butter over medium heat. Ladle 1/3 cup of batter into the hot skillet. Take care not to overcrowd the skillet.
- When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, and the edges begin to brown, flip the pancakes and cook the other side. It will take 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- Smother with Mildred’s organic maple syrup, wild blueberry compote, and a good dollop of whipped cream.
Chef Donna’s tips for the best brunch ever:
- Make Ahead. Cook your pancakes a little in advance of everyone arriving and holding them in a warm oven. They won’t suffer at all.
- Prep Makes Perfect. Lay bacon on a sheet pan the night before. One less thing to worry about in the morning. Pop into your preheated oven and cook in one shebang.
- Pour your own. Make a big pitcher or punch bowl of Mimosas (keep it classic or maybe go pink by using grapefruit juice) and let everyone help themself to their own drink as they arrive.
- Get Brunch’d Family Style. Set your table with a generous bowl of whipped cream, Mildred’s wild blueberry compote, and a jug of warm maple syrup for everyone to top their stacks to their liking.
- WASTE NOT! Freeze any leftover pancakes. Pop into the toaster to reheat when the craving hits. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Basic Quiche Recipe, Another Brunch Classic
The Spicery in Our 1895 Home’s current owners are the third in the establishment’s more than three-decades-long history as a tearoom in Glendale, Arizona. Housed in a craftsman-style 1895 home, this building is on the National Register of Historic Sites. Their two chefs, Matt Sparke and Whitney Toner, have nearly 40 years of combined experience in the restaurant industry.
Quiche is a long-time brunch tradition (and a favorite of this author). The Spicery is known for its daily selection of quiche (usually 2-3 flavors per day.)
Basic Quiche Recipe from The Spicery
Use your favorite pie crust recipe for this quiche!
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 cup diced onion
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon season salt
- Add or remove items to make variations below
Beat in a mixing bowl with a paddle blade (at least 5 min):
- Add 6 eggs
- Then stir in 1 ½ cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream
Now, add in any of your favorite ingredients, including vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Your options are limitless!
Pour into pie crust and mix well by hand; bake in a convection oven at 325° for 45 minutes on the middle rack until set; check for doneness.
Recipe: Asparagus & Tomato Quiche
In addition to her brunch tips, Edible Times Chef Christina serves up this lovely loaded-with-vegetables quiche, which is perfect for your vegetarian guests and can be made ahead of time. Check out this whole wheat pie crust that adds more gut-boosting fiber, but all-purpose works great if that’s all you have. For a frittata-style dish, bake the vegetables and batter in a greased or non-stick 9-inch cake pan or ceramic pie plate.
Asparagus & Tomato Quiche Recipe
QUICHE BATTER INGREDIENTS
- 1½ cups of whole milk or heavy cream, or a combination (I like ¾ cup each)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- ¼ cup of grated parmesan
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 heirloom tomato, stem removed and sliced into thin rounds
TO BAKE THE QUICHE
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. and place a rack in the center of your oven with a large baking pan on it.
- Roll the crust and place it into the pie plate. Lightly flour a clean, cold surface and unwrap the dough and set it in the middle.
- Press down with the rolling pin on the disc to widen it, working from one end to the other. Then with gentle but firm strokes, roll from the center up and then from the center down. After every up and down stroke, make a one-fifth turn to keep it from sticking (I use a bench scraper to help turn the dough). Add more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. Aim for about a 12-inch circle that is at least an inch larger than your pie plate. Then roll the dough up around your rolling pin, and unroll it over the pie plate. Press gently to form the dough into the plate, and trim off any excess that hangs over the edges. Prick a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a knife or fork (this allows steam to escape).
- Par-bake the pie crust. Lay crumpled-up parchment paper or foil on top of the dough and fill it with pie weights, rice, or dried beans (or a combination). Bake the crust on the baking pan for 20 minutes, then remove the pie weights and continue to bake until the bottom is no longer shiny and turns a light golden brown. This can take 10 to 20 more minutes but check it about every five minutes for safety. While the crust bakes, prepare the batter and filling.
- Prep the vegetables while the crust bakes. Trim the bottoms off three asparagus spears and slice them in half lengthwise. Then trim the woody bottoms off the rest and cut them into one-inch pieces. Fill a medium-size pot (about six quarts) with water and bring it to a boil. Salt the water with a heaping pinch and add the asparagus, boiling for two minutes. Strain or remove the asparagus with tongs and dry them well. With a small but sharp knife like a paring knife, cut at an angle in a circular motion around the tomato stem base to pop it out. Next, slice a thin piece away from the bottom of the tomato to create a steady surface. Then with the flat side down, slice it into very thin rounds.
- Mix the batter. Combine the eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Then whisk vigorously until the batter is homogenous with tiny bubbles all over (this incorporates air into the quiche, which creates a light texture). Stir in the grated Parmesan.
- Add the batter to the parbaked crust. Immediately upon removing the crust from the oven, layer the tomatoes and cooked asparagus pieces in the bottom. Then place the pie plate back on the baking pan that’s in the oven, and pour the batter in just below the top of the crust (you may have extra depending on the depth of your pie plate).
- Bake until just set. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (or more) until the top of the quiche is lightly brown, and the mixture is set. When you shake it, the batter should shift or move cohesively (you shouldn’t see waves of movement). If the edges of the crust begin to brown before the batter is set, cover them with foil or a pie crust ring.
- Cool and serve. Let the quiche cool on a rack for ten minutes before cutting and serving. Or store it chilled if you plan to serve it another day. To reheat the quiche, place it uncovered in a preheated 350° F oven until hot all the way through. You can reheat the entire quiche or slice it when it’s cold (which is easier) and reheat the slices on a parchment paper-lined baking pan.
Quiche Tips from Chef Christina:
Turn the batter into a crustless quiche (frittata) for a low-carb brunch option. When you garnish a quiche with a pretty presentation of vegetables on top, it’s a showstopper of a bunch dish. And fairly easy to execute at home.
On vegetable substitutions: a good rule of thumb is about two cups of vegetables for a nine-inch quiche. No need to be exact. Always boil tougher vegetables before baking them in the batter. The same goes for meats, you want to cook meat fully before adding it to a quiche recipe.
Recipe: Bear Bottom Egg Casserole
As the first family of Texas smoked meats, Celebrity Chef and owner of award-winning Bear Creek Smokehouse in Texas, Robbie Shoults, offers a family recipe handed down from generation to generation: Bear Bottom Egg Casserole. The rich Texan history of Bear Creek and its location are also integral parts of the recipe.
The above brunch casserole dish is featured in the Shoults’ historical and cultural family cookbook, Bear Bottom Bliss. This cookbook contains amazing recipes that have been in the Shoults family for almost 80 years and five generations of great food.
Bear Bottom Egg Casserole
- 16 oz. Monterey Jack/Cheddar cheese blend, grated
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup half and half
- 8 eggs
- 8 oz. Bear Creek Smokehouse ham, diced
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 1 7oz. can, sliced jalapenos, drained
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Spray a 9″ x 12″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Put grated cheese in a gallon-size food storage bag.
- Add flour and baking powder.
- Close the bag and shake well. Set aside.
- Beat eggs with a wire whisk in a large bowl.
- Add half and half and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix ham, onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos.
- Place half of the ham mixture in the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly into the casserole over the ham. Add the remaining ham and top with the remaining cheese mixture.
- Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in a casserole dish.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the mixture is set and slightly golden on top.
- Serve warm.
Optional: Cooked, drained, and crumbled bacon or breakfast sausage may be used in place of ham. Also optional: fresh sliced jalapenos can be used as a garnish.
Chef Robbie says, “This egg casserole is easy to make and is always a hit here at Bear Creek! You can even make the casserole the night before. Just cover the casserole overnight in the fridge and pop it in the oven the next morning! This option allows you to enjoy more time with your family at brunch. You can’t beat that.”
Recipe: Souffle Pancakes
Located in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, Jennifer Jasinski is the chef/owner of Bistro Vendôme, a great choice for updated French bistro fare using local, seasonal ingredients.
For her Souffle Pancakes brunch recipe, Chef Jen invites you to taste and asks: “Who doesn’t love fluffy pancakes and blackberries for brunch?”
Yield 4 orders
For the pancake batter
- 10 oz. all-purpose flour
- 6 oz. granulated sugar
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 4 oz. melted butter
- 3 eggs, separated
Sift the flour, sugar, and Kosher salt into a bowl. In another bowl, mix the egg yolks with the milk and add melted butter. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Mix the yolks, milk, and butter mixture into the dry ingredients to barely incorporate, do not over-mix. Fold in the egg whites.
For the blackberry syrup
- 9 oz. fresh blackberries
- ½ cup sugar
- Pinch Kosher salt
Add all three ingredients together in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until desired consistency. I like mine a bit thick to stick to pancakes. Then strain out the seeds if you like; that is a personal choice.
We use 3-inch metal rings (3” circumference x 3” high) so that they are super high and fun, but you can make these like regular pancakes on a griddle as well. Pour half a cup of pancake batter on a buttered non-stick skillet over medium heat; when you see bubbles, you know it is time to flip the pancake. Turn and finish on the other side.
For the way made at the restaurant, place two of the rings in a non-stick pan in the oven until hot. When hot – spray the inside of two rings with cooking spray. Pour in batter until it reaches 1/3 of the way up each ring. Place in the oven at 350°. When you see the batter rise and start to turn golden brown around the sides (2-3 minutes), flip each of the rings in the pan with a spatula. Then return to the oven to finish cooking for about 5 minutes. Test if done by inserting a toothpick so it comes out clean. When done, remove it from the ring by using a paring knife to release it from the side of the ring.
Garnish with fresh blackberries and powdered sugar. Dust each layer with powdered sugar, then stack the two “circles” and top with syrup as desired. Dust with more powdered sugar and add a few fresh blackberries.
Recipe: Benedict Strata
I’m a fan of eggs benedict, as in—if it’s on the menu, I’m ordering it! So I was a definite yes-ma’am to Chef, cookbook author, and in-studio chef at Fox 5 in Las Vegas Alicia Shevetone, who suggested her Benedict Strata.
According to Chef Alicia, “Ain’t no brunch like a make-ahead brunch, y’all! This is how we do it in Sin City—a casserole of English muffins, Canadian bacon, and eggs, baked to puffy perfection, including a lighter version of hollandaise that won’t weigh you down. Pop the champs!”
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 9 ounces Canadian bacon, cubed
- 7 ounces stale English muffins, split and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of chili powder
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- Maple syrup
- Apply a light layer of nonstick cooking spray to an 8×8 baking dish. Place half of the Canadian bacon in an even layer across the bottom of the dish. Top Canadian bacon with an even layer of English muffin pieces, followed by the remaining Canadian bacon.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 6 eggs, garlic salt, and 2 cups of milk. Pour over the Canadian bacon mixture in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours prior to baking.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. As the oven preheats, remove the casserole from the refrigerator, uncover it, and let it sit on the counter to take the chill off before baking. When the oven is preheated, sprinkle the casserole with paprika and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until set.
- While the casserole bakes, melt butter in a small pot over low heat. Once melted, swirl the butter for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden. Transfer butter to a small bowl; set aside.
- Add buttermilk, cornstarch, and chili powder to the pot and whisk until smooth.
- Beat the remaining two eggs and combine them with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Increase the heat of the buttermilk mixture to medium-low, and slowly drizzle in the egg and milk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Once simmering, remove the pot from the heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter and lemon juice.
- Once baked, allow the casserole to sit for 15 minutes. Cut into squares, drizzle with lemon sauce, and garnish with chopped chives. Serve with maple syrup on the side, if desired, for added sweetness.
From New Zealand: Brunch Corn Fritters with Garlic Prawns
One of my top foodie experiences more than a decade ago was a New Zealand cooking class at the Ruth Pretty Cooking School. Located on a 27-acre orchard property on the Kapiti Coast, about halfway between Wellington and Palmerston North, my visit was an escape from the city and a joy to learn from this welcoming chef.
Chef Ruth offers this taste of her part of the world: Brunch Corn Fritters with Garlic Prawns. “I have always enjoyed the Spanish recipe of Garlic Prawns with Chorizo as it is so tasty. But this recipe takes a New Zealand turn and great breakfast treat with the corn fritters. Serve with a slice of sourdough baguette and a glass of Lavender Lemonade (scroll down for recipe under drinks).”
Brunch Corn Fritters with Garlic Prawns, Chorizo, and Citrus Crème Fraiche
- 400g whole kernel corn, frozen, thawed, or canned, drained
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 65g flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup roughly chopped coriander leaves & stems
- Canola oil for cooking
- 1 lime or lemon, halved
- Garlic Prawns with Chorizo
- Citrus Crème Fraiche
- Place 200g (half the corn) in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
- Add red onion, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper and process to a paste-like consistency. Be careful not to over-process.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add remaining corn kernels and coriander and mix well to combine.
- Set a heavy-based frypan set over medium heat and add enough Canola oil to generously cover the base of the pan. Heat oil until hot.
- Place ¼ cup measure of the fritter mixture into the hot pan and lightly flatten out to a neat round. Repeat with the remaining mixture, trying not to overcrowd the pan. You may need to cook the mixture in two batches.
- Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn fritters over and cook for a further 2 minutes or until cooked through and golden on both sides.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.
Accompany with Garlic Prawns with Chorizo and Citrus Crème Fraiche.
Garlic Prawns with Chorizo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 18 prawns, peeled with tails left on, thawed, and dried on paper towels
- 45g butter, diced
- 1 chorizo sausage, cut into 1cm dice
- 1 dried smoked Pasilla Negro chili
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
- Place oil in a heavy-based pan set over medium-high heat. Add prawns. Rather than overcrowding the pan, cook in two batches. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Add butter to the same pan. Add chorizo and chili. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the chorizo is crispy and fragrant.
- Add garlic and fry for 1 minute or until garlic is lightly golden. Return the prawns to the pan and add sherry. Cook for 1 minute or until the prawns are hot.
- Remove the prawns from the pan to a small bowl and pour over the cooking juices.
- Remove chili. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with sherry vinegar and sprinkle with parsley.
Citrus Crème Fraiche
Makes 210ml (slightly less than 1 cup)
This zesty savory cream is a simple but very worthy accompaniment to fish, salmon, prawns, and scampi.
- 200g crème fraiche
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Into a small bowl, place crème fraiche, lemon and lime zest, lemon and lime juice, and salt and mix together. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Main Dish Frittata
I recently stayed at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and my family sampled this Frittata recipe during Sunday brunch at the Crystal Dining Room. It’s a creation by Chef Dwight Loftus, and all I can say is WOW! And for home chefs, this Vegetarian brunch Frittata can be made the night before and then popped in the oven before guests arrive.
Born in Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, Executive Chef Francesco Inguaggiato grew up learning the traditional preparation of Sicilian food while working with his mother in his grandfather’s trattoria in Palermo. He’s owned restaurants in the US for the past 20 years, including his current in Texas, Bellino Ristorante Bar.
Chef Francesco says, “Frittata is an Italian brunch dish that is easy to mix in any favorite veggies or meats. One of our favorites is with fresh spinach, cheese, and sometimes ham. It’s easy to prepare in advance and have it ready for family or guests.”
Chef Francesco’s mother used to prepare Frittatas for brunch and even for dinner sometimes. For Chef Francesco’s family, he often cooks Frittatas for weekend brunches, with fresh fruit, maybe some croissants and coffee, or a nice mimosa with fresh OJ or an Aperol spritz with an orange twist.
- 12 eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Assorted fresh vegetables (e.g. bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach)
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cheddar cheese, grated
- Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- Fine feather cheese, grated
- Preheat your oven to 275°F.
- Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat them together with the heavy cream.
- Add in the fresh vegetables, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and mix everything together well.
- Pour the mixture into a well-greased baking dish.
- Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and fine feather cheese.
- Bake the frittata in the oven, rotating the dish every 15 minutes until the eggs are fully cooked, and the cheese on top is melted and golden brown.
Serve hot, and enjoy!
Recipe: Roasted Rhubarb Clafoutis
Lisa Steele is a 5th generation chicken keeper in Maine, founder of Fresh Eggs Daily, and the author of The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook. She is also the host and producer of Welcome to My Farm on CreateTV.
Roasted Rhubarb Clafoutis is a classic French dessert that traditionally calls for whole pitted cherries enveloped inside a pillowy, custard-like batter, but Chef Lisa says any stone fruit will work in place of cherries.
- 2 cups fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/2 cup flour
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9” pie plate, skillet, or other oven-safe dish and arrange the rhubarb in the bottom in an even single layer. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of the sugar, toss to coat the rhubarb, then roast in the oven for 10 minutes while you prepare the batter.
In the jar of a blender, whirl together the milk, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, ginger, and butter until smooth. Add the flour and pulse just until combined. Pour the batter into the pan over the rhubarb. Set the pan on a baking sheet to prevent overflow if necessary.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the edges are just set, and the top is puff and golden brown. Let cool, then dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve warm if you like more of a pudding consistency or at room temperature for a firmer slice. Refrigerate leftovers.
Tips from Chef Lisa:
“I personally like to use rhubarb fresh from the garden when I can in my clafoutis. It’s a great way to use up extra rhubarb and a nice change from a strawberry rhubarb pie. If you can’t find rhubarb, by all means, use the cherries, but here in Maine, rhubarb is one of the few crops that can actually be harvested around Mother’s Day, so it’s perfect for a spring brunch.”
The batter will be thin, like a pancake batter, and should only be blended after adding the flour enough to incorporate it into a smooth batter to make sure it doesn’t get tough or chewy. Once baked, the clafoutis will be similar to a loose pudding which will firm up a bit as it sits and cools, so it will stand up to being sliced and can be eaten with a fork.
Recipe: Moroccan Shakshuka
Shruthi Baskaran-Makanju, an avid traveler, home cook, and food blogger at UrbanFarmie.com, also lived in Rabat, Morocco, for a period of time.
“Moroccan Shakshuka is the perfect brunch dish,” according to Shruthi. “Eggs are poached in a tangy tomato base and then served with warm flatbread. It is believed to have originated in Tunisia but is a staple in many North African and Middle Eastern Countries.”
The family she stayed with would always make a delicious shakshuka without harissa (a red pepper paste) and add feta cheese and avocados. It’s also a perfect brunch dish because it takes low effort, can easily be scaled or customized to taste, and is a perfect way to make a homemade meal without breaking a sweat.
Moroccan Shakshuka Recipe
Prep Time 10 mins. Cook Time 30 mins
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion or shallots, thinly diced
- 1 habanero pepper, thinly diced (substitute with jalapeno as needed)
- 2 garlic cloves, or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 can diced tomatoes, preferably unsalted; use 14 oz for a thicker shakshuka or 28 oz if you want more base
SEASONING AND EGGS
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder, cayenne, and/or paprika both work
- 6 eggs, preferably large, organic & free-range
- 1-2 teaspoon salt, as required
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, as required
- 1 avocado, medium size
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons feta, gorgonzola, or goat cheese
- Heat skillet over medium heat and add olive oil (see notes for making for one person).
- Once the oil is hot, add onions and habanero peppers—cook until soft (about 5 to 7 mins).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Then add the can of diced tomatoes, followed by cumin, red chili powder, salt & pepper – mix well and cook until it starts to simmer (5 minutes).
- Make six little dips in the sauce using the back of a spoon or spatula – crack an egg into each dip, taking care not to break the yolk.
- Simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are runny (you can cover them while you do this step, but that typically cooks the eggs faster). If you prefer your eggs done a different way, cook them to your desired consistency!
Take off the heat, garnish with avocado, herbs, and/or cheese, and serve while still hot!
“Nothing beats the taste of runny yolks, tangy tomatoes, salty feta, and creamy avocados all coming together in a single bite,” says Shruthi.
Recipe: New Orleans Beignets
Edible Times Chef Christina offers her light, fluffy, and charmingly traditional homemade New Orleans beignets. She recommends mixing the dough the night before for a more tender, fluffier doughnut. How thin you roll the dough and how large you cut the doughnuts will determine the exact number of beignets you get from the recipe.
Born in New Orleans and raised on red beans and rice and her mom’s shrimp étouffée, Chef Christina recalls that her holiday menus at home included plenty of Southern and Creole flavors. “Beignets are a bit of a project, but a fun dessert or treat for Easter or a special occasion like Mother’s Day.”
Chef Christina proofs the dough overnight, then everyone gathers around the stove while she fries them and shakes in way too much-powdered sugar. She says, “Beignets fry up in just a couple of minutes, and nothing beats a homemade doughnut hot out of the fryer!”
Cook Time: 20 minutes, Total Time: 35 Active Minutes, Yield: 24 to 28 Beignets
- 1¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast (⅛ ounce)
- ½ cup of warm water (around 110°F)
- ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar (2.45 ounces)
- ½ cup of evaporated milk*
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt (less if table salt)
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour (about 18 ounces)
- 2 to 4 quarts of neutral oil (enough to fill your large pot halfway)
- Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, for dusting
- Proof the yeast and melt the butter. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, a teaspoon of granulated sugar, and warm water. Let stand for five minutes until a layer of froth forms on top. If it doesn’t foam, the yeast is bad, so start over with new yeast. Melt the butter, and set it aside to cool.
- Beat the egg and sugar, then add the milk. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk or beat the egg and sugar until combined. Add the evaporated milk, melted butter, and yeast mixture, and whisk or beat on low speed until smooth.
- Mix the dough. Add the flour a little at a time on low speed or stir it in with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. The dough will be loose but cohesive. If the dough is really sticky, add a spoonful of flour at a time until you can handle it.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape it gently into a ball. Then place it in an oiled bowl and cover it well (I like to wrap the bowl in plastic wrap). Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. Or proof it in the refrigerator overnight for the most flavorful and tender beignets.
- Heat the frying oil. Heat three to four inches of oil to 370° F in a large pot over medium-high heat. Use a candy or meat thermometer to measure the temperature. Don’t fill the pot more than halfway with oil, or it will overflow when you add the beignets. If you don’t have a thermometer, start with medium-high heat and adjust it once you start frying. It should be hot enough that the beignets float nearly immediately and are done in a couple of minutes.
- Roll and cut the beignets. Press the air out of the risen dough and turn it out gently onto a floured surface. Roll it into a loose 14-inch square that’s about an eighth-inch thick. Then with a floured knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into squares that are 2¼ to 2½-inches in size. Keep the cut beignets on a floured surface and cover them with plastic wrap or a towel until you fry.
- Fry to a light golden. Fry the beignets in small batches until just cooked through and lightly golden on both sides, flipping once the first side is golden. I recommend frying a single beignet first so you can adjust the temperature of your oil as necessary. Beignets don’t need more than a minute or two in the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot, or the oil will have difficulty maintaining temperature.
- Drain and coat in powdered sugar. Drain the fried beignets on a rack or paper towels. Then sift a heavy coating of powdered sugar over the doughnuts. Or, for a true French Quarter beignet experience, place the doughnuts in paper bags with a cup of powdered sugar. Seal and shake the bag to coat the doughnuts. Serve warm.
Cheers to Brunch Drinks
The Spicery’s Berry Neighborly Iced Tea
The lovely tearoom in Glendale, Arizona, The Spicery serves up this refreshing cool tea –and simple to make. One of their seasonal favorites, this is the perfect complement to any brunch menu.
- 1 tbsp Raspberry Syrup
- 1 tbsp Strawberry Syrup
- 1 cup brewed tea, chilled
Pour over ice and serve in a pretty, frosted glass.
Refreshing Lavender Lemonade
Another lovely brunch treat, courtesy of Chef Ruth Pretty, one of New Zealand’s best-known food personalities, is this refreshing Lavender Lemonade.
Makes 1.8 liters, just shy of 2 quarts.
- 6 lemons
- 300g (11⁄2 cups) sugar
- 25l (5 cups) water
- 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
- 560ml (2 1⁄4 cups) lemon juice
Peel lemons with a sharp peeler, leaving as much white on the lemons as possible. Combine peel, sugar, water, and lavender flowers into a non-reactive pot and stir on low heat till sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool with a lid on in the fridge.
The following day, sieve liquid through a fine sieve. Squeeze peeled lemons and add the 560ml lemon juice and stir. When ready to serve, taste for strength and dilute accordingly.
Add ice and garnish with lavender flowers. If you wish, in the summer, use fresh English varieties of lavender, either Lavandula Augustifolia or Lavandula Intermedia.
More Important Brunch Tips
- Coffee will keep your people happy. Keep it flowing. Better yet, buy inexpensive thermal carafes to keep the steaming coffee and tea flowing. Set up a fancy coffee station, preferably away from the brunch line and kitchen path, so as to not interfere with the flow of food. Add all the fun stuff: mugs (mix and match), spoons, creamer, milk, sugar, and flavored syrups. If kids are joining your brunch fiesta, consider adding a hot chocolate station.
- Remember the drinks! No brunch is complete without a few cocktails. (Consider these springtime brunch cocktail recipes.)You can offer a variety of brunch-friendly beverages like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Bellinis to keep your guests in high spirits. Add an array of juices for mixers, as well as for non-alcoholic options.
Finally, and most importantly, be sure to look around and enjoy your time with your family and friends. Because when it’s all said and done, the dirty dishes are stacked, and your guests have left, it’s the memories you make that are worth hosting the weekend brunch.