Terrific egg dishes, irresistible breakfast breads and sparkling cocktails are all reasons why America loves Sunday brunch. Brunch is a great excuse to gather with friends and family and have a relaxing meal before the new week begins. Below are a few delicious recipes that are perfect for serving a crowd of hungry brunch-goers.
Bacon and Leek Quiche
Eggs dishes such as omelets and Eggs Benedict are always a popular choice for Sunday morning brunch. Baked egg dishes such as frittatas and quiches are also quite popular, and can provide a creative way to incorporate different types of vegetables and cheeses into your menu. Below is a recipe for a bacon and leek quiche that can be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons ice water
1 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
8 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese, shredded
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
In a food processor, pulse the 2 1/2 cups of flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the egg yolk and ice water and pulse until the pastry is moistened. Turn the pastry out onto a floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until smooth. Pat the pastry into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll 1 disk of the pastry to a 12-inch round. Ease the pastry into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom without stretching. Trim the excess and use it to patch any holes. Refrigerate the tart shell for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
Line the tart shells with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shells for 30 minutes, just until dry. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake the crusts for about 15 minutes longer, until they are dry and golden. Transfer the tart pans to 2 sturdy baking sheets.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon, leaving 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add the leeks and thyme to the skillet, season with salt and white pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bacon and cheese.
Divide the bacon-and-leek filling between the tart shells. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks and heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Pour the custard into the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through for even baking, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer the quiches to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the rings, cut the quiches into wedges and serve. Makes 2 10-inch tarts.
Everyone loves a good selection of breakfast breads and pastries with their Sunday brunch. Including breads in your brunch can be a great way to incorporate fresh, local produce into your menu, as well as highlight locally made jams, preserves or butters. Popovers are a fun and unique breakfast bread to serve, but they aren’t always easy to make. This fool-proof recipe below is simple and easy enough for anyone to try.
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 cups milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and orange zest. Whisk in the milk and 3 tablespoons of the melted butter. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until only small lumps remain.
Brush the cups of a muffin tin (preferably not nonstick) with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter and heat the muffin tin in the oven for 5 minutes; the butter will turn a nutty brown. Carefully fill the muffin cups halfway with the popover batter. Bake the popovers for about 30 minutes, until they are risen and browned. Turn the popovers out onto a serving platter and serve them right away. Makes 12 popovers.
When we think of brunch time cocktails, mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and spiked coffees often come to mind. While all good choices, you might think about trying a beverage that will utilize seasonal produce. Below is a great summertime recipe for a Bellini that uses fresh peaches and light, sparkling Prosecco.
1 1/2 pounds very ripe white peaches (about 6)
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (or more) sugar
1 750-ml bottle chilled Prosecco
Peel and halve chilled peaches; discard pits. Chop fruit; transfer to a large bowl.
Add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. sugar; toss to evenly coat.
Transfer peach mixture to a blender. Purée until smooth. Strain purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Season to taste with more lemon juice or sugar (if adding more sugar, be sure to stir until it dissolves). Add Prosecco, then stir slowly to blend (stirring gently will prevent Prosecco from foaming up). Gently divide Bellini among Champagne glasses. Serves 7.