Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mother's Day Brunch Recipes

Hope you all had a happy Mother’s Day!  I tried two new recipes this past weekend for our brunch. It was at my parents’ place, but I didn’t want my mom to have to make anything.  My dad made our traditional “John Wayne” casserole along with bacon and cinnamon rolls. I made a sweet potato crusted quiche and a fruit tart.  And my Grandma Anne brought some beautiful tulips.

The quiche was a huge success – it was healthy and a lot simpler than I expected.  I’ll definitely make that again. 

The fruit tart looked beautiful, but unfortunately it was a way more complicated recipe than I had planned for. I should have read ahead of time that it requires several hours or up to a day of preparation, so it didn’t set properly. The pastry cream was more of a yogurt consistency and after putting it in the freezer to try to get it to firm up, the crust was so hard we couldn’t cut through it.  So we ended up serving it more like a parfait instead. 

I’ll also post the recipe for the “John Wayne” casserole. This is one of my dad’s all-time favorite dishes to make. My Grandma Anne came across this recipe in a magazine years ago and it’s been in our family ever since. If you’re looking for a healthy egg dish, this is not your thing. It is loaded with two pounds of cheese and has evaporated milk to give it a creamy consistency.  The green chiles give it just the right amount of spiciness. 

Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche (adapted from Cooking Light)

·        2 medium sweet potatoes
·        1 teaspoon canola oil
·        1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
·        1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
·        1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
·        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·        1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
·        4 large eggs
·        2 large egg whites
·        1.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled


1. Preheat the oven to 350°, then peel and slice sweet potatoes into rounds.

2. Coat a pie dish with cooking spray, then fill the bottom of the dish with a layer of sweet potato slices. Cut the sweet potato rounds in half and fill around the edges of the pie dish; round side facing up.

3. Once the entire dish is filled, coat one more time with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat up to 375°.

4. For the filling, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.

5. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Arrange spinach mixture in crust; pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with feta. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.

Fruit Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream (adapted from Erica’s Sweet Tooth)
·        1 large egg yolk
·        1 tbsp heavy cream
·        1/2 tsp vanilla extract
·        1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
·        2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
·        1/4 tsp salt
·        8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2" cubes

Pastry cream:
·        2 cups whole milk
·        1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tbsp
·        4 tbsp cornstarch
·        2 egg yolks
·        1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
·        3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

·        Whatever fruit you’d like! I used strawberries, kiwis, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, but use whatever is in season


1. Whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

2. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs - about 15 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture until the dough just comes together (about 15 seconds).

3. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6" disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

4. When the dough is ready, unwrap and roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface into a 13" round. Transfer the dough to a 9" tart pan and mold the dough to the sides of the pan. Freeze the pan for 30 minutes.4

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and press foil over the frozen shell and fill with pie weights. (I didn’t use the pie weights…perhaps this would have helped)

6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven, remove the foil and weights, and then bake another 5-8 minutes longer until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pastry Cream:
1. Combine the milk and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until simmering.

2. Meanwhile in another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 2 tbsp of sugar for about 15 seconds. Then add the cornstarch and mix until pale yellow and thick.

3. When the milk has reached a simmer, slowly add the milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly as you combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan and return to medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture just starts to boil and the mixture is thickened.

4. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Strain pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.

5. Cover pastry cream with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the top of the cream so that a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

1. Spread pastry cream evenly in tart shell and top with desired fruit.

John Wayne Casserole (family recipe)

·        2 cans (4 oz) chopped green chilies
·        1 lb Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
·        1 lb cheddar cheese, grated
·        2/3 cup evaporated milk
·        2 tomatoes, sliced
·        1 T flour
·        ½ t salt
·        4 egg whites
·        4 egg yolks
·        1/8 t pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 325°.

2. Drain and dice green chiles. Combine the grated cheeses and chiles in buttered shallow casserole dish (12x8x2).

3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks, milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix until well blended.

4. Gently fold beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture over the cheese in the casserole dish using a fork to ooze it through the cheese.

5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange the sliced tomatoes on the casserole. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the cheese in the center is firm. (If you do not use the tomatoes, bake for the full hour, but check periodically and once the top begins to brown, cover with tin foil).


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