Brunch combines all the things we love: delicious meals, savory goodies, sweet treats, and even some tasty cocktails. So, why not gather your book club together for an epic brunch to talk about the latest group read?
Here are some of my favorite ideas for a brunch spread that will leave your book club racing to read through the next book just to meet up for another brunch party.
This is a delicious, refreshing, bright, and super-fun brunch punch that’s festive enough for any occasion. I make this all the time! It’s even good to take to a party—just use a pitcher with a lid or cover it with plastic, and voilà! In a punch bowl, it’s the perfect colorful centerpiece for any table spread.
1 bottle prosecco brut
2 cups Lillet
¾ cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons simple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
½ cup ginger ale 4 large strawberries, sliced
3 slices orange 8 fresh mint leaves
½ Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
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1. Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl or pitcher and stir to combine. Add large pieces of ice or an ice block, if using a punch bowl.
Homemade Yogurt and Granola
I love yogurt! It’s the perfect snack. It’s great in smoothies, in ice pops, with fruit, with granola, on savory dishes—the list goes on and on. I prefer homemade yogurt because it tastes more natural and fresh, and it doesn’t have all the added sugar like most store- bought yogurts do. It’s also so much creamier and lighter in consistency. Wait, did I mention it is super affordable to make, too? Have fun.
1 quart whole milk
¼ cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures (use a yogurt you prefer, as it will flavor the batch you make; full-fat yogurt is best)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¾ cup sliced almonds 1 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons flaxseeds
½ cup shredded coconut (I use sweetened, but you don’t have to)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt 5 tablespoons honey
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped dried apricot
1. In a small Dutch oven or pot, heat the milk to 190ºF. Remove the milk from the heat and let cool to 110 to 115ºF. Stir 1 cup of the cooled milk into the yogurt until combined. Add the yogurt mixture to the remaining milk in the pot and gently stir together.
2. Put a lid on the pot and set it aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 hours. (I like to place the pot on a heating pad set to medium heat and cover it with a kitchen towel. I check the temperature frequently, but it’s not necessary. If your oven stays warm with the light on, you can place the pot there. You want the temperature to stay between 100ºF and 110ºF.) After 5 hours, start checking the yogurt for thickness; the longer it sits, the thicker it gets. The time will also depend on the temperature. Once the yogurt reaches your desired thickness, stir it very gently and place it in the fridge to cool and set. Transfer the yogurt to an airtight container and store in the fridge. It will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated. Enjoy!
3. Save some of this batch of yogurt to make your next batch.
4. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, flaxseeds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Give it a stir to evenly combine.
6. Put the honey in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds so that it thins out a little. Add the applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add the honey mixture to the dry granola mixture and stir well to combine.
7. Spread the granola over the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 1 hour, turning and stirring granola around on the pans every 15 minutes. The baking time may vary a bit, but granola should be a nice dark golden brown when it’s ready. “Slow and low” is our granola-baking mantra. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool, then stir in the dried apricots.
8. Enjoy the granola on its own, with your own homemade yogurt, or however you like. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Quiche
I wanted to turn the classic savory flavor of ravioli into a breakfast dish. I knew the taste and texture of the sausage and shrooms would pair well with a hearty pie crust—thus, a quiche was born! Use this pie crust recipe for any sweet or savory dish that needs a crust.
2½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2 large eggs
8 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ cup shredded Comté cheese (can substitute Parmesan or even a sharp aged white Cheddar)
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
9 ounces ground pork sausage
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
8 baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
2 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1. To make the pie crust: In a food processor (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it is broken down into pea- size pieces. (If mixing by hand, get in there with your hands and work the butter into the flour.)
2. Add the eggs and pulse (or stir by hand) until combined. The dough may still seem dry and not entirely together—that’s okay. Dump it out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Bring the dough together into a ball and flatten it into a disc on the plastic wrap; it should come together as you do, but if it is still too dry, add a teaspoon or two of very cold water. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
4. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a round just under ¼ inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough (see Note). Cut the excess dough from the edge and then crimp the edge and fold it up. With a fork, gently poke the bottom of the dough all over. Line the dough with a large piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts getting golden and is almost fully cooked. Remove the parchment and beans or weights and bake for 10 minutes more, or until just lightly golden all over and fully baked. Transfer to a wire rack; keep the oven on.
5. To make the quiche: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs well until frothy. Add the milk, cream, pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and whisk again. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Set aside.
6. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium to high heat. Add the sausage, fennel seeds, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook until the sausage is almost fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and remaining ½ tablespoon butter and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften and the sausage is fully cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and stir to combine.
7. Pour the sausage-mushroom mixture into the baked pie crust and spread it evenly. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the sausage and mushrooms.
8. Bake the quiche for 35 to 45 minutes, then cover it with foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the center is jiggly but set.
9. Let the quiche cool, then slice and enjoy. The quiche will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the oven or
This tart very well can be served for dessert, but for me it brings to mind the quintessential sophisticated European breakfast pastry. It goes perfectly with coffee and at first bite makes me feel like I’m sitting at a Parisian sidewalk café, sipping espresso and being fancy!
SWEET TART DOUGH (PÂTE SUCRÉE)
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
ALMOND FILLING (FRANGIPANE)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar 1 cup slivered almonds
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon orange zest
⅛ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
2 or 3 apples (Granny Smith for a more tart flavor, Fuji or Golden
Delicious for sweet—or use combination)
Juice of ½ orange (reserve the other half
for zesting) Juice of 1 lemon wedge
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
1. To make the sweet tart dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times just to combine. Add the butter and pulse until almost completely combined. Add the egg and mix until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix. (Alternatively, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Add the egg and mix until almost combined, then add the flour and salt and mix to fully combine. Do not overmix.)
2. Pat the dough into a flat disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. You can also freeze the dough at this point and use it later.
3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a round ¼ inch thick. Place it in a 10-inch or similar size round tart mold, making sure to press it firmly into the inside edges. Neatly trim off any overhanging dough.
4. Refrigerate the tart shell while you make the filling and prepare the apple topping.
5. To make the almond filling: In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, almonds, and salt. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, orange zest, almond extract, and bourbon (if using). Pulse until smooth and combined.
6. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
7. To make the topping: Core and segment the apples, then very thinly slice them. Put the slices in a large bowl with the orange juice and lemon juice and toss to combine.
8. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator and gently prick the bottom all over with a fork. Spread the filling into the tart shell.
9. Arrange the slices over the filling in the tart, starting from the outside in, placing the rounded outer edge of the apple slices on the outside edge of the tart and overlapping each slice and layer of slices, until the tart is completely covered.
10. Brush the tart with the melted butter, then sprinkle with granulated sugar.
11. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and the frangipane has risen and fluffed up and springs back to the touch, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
12. Let the tart cool. Grate fresh orange zest from the reserved orange half over the top before serving.
Rosemary Garlic Breakfast Potatoes
No brunch spread is complete without breakfast potatoes. They go with anything—simple scrambled eggs, eggs Benedict, as a savory pairing with pancakes, you name it. These take about an hour in the oven but are easy to have baking while all the other goodies are getting prepared. Make a big batch and eat ’em for breakfast and dinner.
3½ cups diced red potatoes (or a mix of red and small white potatoes)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more if needed
2 garlic cloves Large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Put all the ingredients on the prepared baking sheet and toss to combine. Bake for about 1 hour, tossing the potatoes every 15 minutes; be careful, as they may stick to the foil. Once the potatoes are a nice golden brown and crispy on the edges, they are ready.
3. Taste and add more salt, if desired, then serve.
Featured image: @ajfernando via Twenty20
Food images excerpted from Sunny-Side Up by Waylynn Lucas