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Thursday, May 3, 2018 12:01 am

Mother’s Day brunch at home

If you forgot to make a reservation or simply don’t want to face the Mother’s Day brunch crowds, here’s an elegant, make-ahead menu that is fully customizable and easy enough to make with the kids.

Phyllo dough stands in for traditional piecrust as the base for a hearty, seasonal quiche. If you’re not familiar with phyllo dough, it’s a fun product to work with. Rolls of paper-thin dough come in a frozen package and can also be used to make strudels, turnovers, baklava, spanakopita and stacked desserts like a napoleon. Keep the dough covered with a towel while you work with it, and don’t be concerned if it tears a bit. Just overlap the torn bit, brush with more butter and keep layering.

Both quiche and scones can be made to suit any taste. My asparagus patch is bursting at the seams and I have some Easter ham left over in the freezer, so I’ll probably do an asparagus, ham and Gruyère quiche. Perhaps I’ll pair it with lemon-raspberry scones. If you’re feeling flush, spring for a top quality butter like Kerrygold to both use in your scones and to serve alongside them.

Fresh fruit salad rounds out the meal, topped with a delightful dressing made of lime ginger syrup. The syrup can also serve as a base for a refreshing homemade soda or cocktail. Mix with club soda or prosecco, and garnish with a lime wedge and a slice of cucumber.

Phyllo Crust Quiche
• 8 eggs
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1½ cups cooked and cooled fillings of your choice such as bacon, ham, sausage, asparagus, potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, peppers and/or onions
• 1 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as cheddar, Gruyère, feta or Gouda
• 12-15 sheets of phyllo dough, trimmed to 9 x 12-inch rectangles
• 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, nutmeg, and minced garlic and mix well to combine.

Lightly brush the sides of a deep 10-inch pie plate or cake pan with melted butter. Unroll a package of phyllo dough and trim to size. Keep the sheets covered with a towel to prevent them from drying out while you work. Place one sheet of phyllo dough in pie plate and brush with butter. Continue layering phyllo in alternating concentric circles, brushing each layer with more butter.

Arrange your fillings of choice in the phyllo-lined dish, then top with cheese and pour the egg mixture over the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake 45-60 minutes, until eggs are set and the top is golden and puffed.

Let cool before serving. Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Rewarm in a 325-degree oven, covered lightly with foil, for 20-30 minutes.

Loaded scones
• 2¾ cup all purpose flour
• ¼ cup sugar
• generous ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
• 1-2 cups of your favorite combination of chopped dried dates, candied ginger, currants, chocolate chips, toasted nuts, fresh or frozen berries (cut larger berries into smaller pieces), grated citrus zest
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ½ cup whole milk or half and half
• Raw sugar for topping (optional)

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and whisk well to combine. Add the cold butter cubes and work in to the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse sand (some larger chunks of butter remaining in the mixture is OK). Mix in your choice of fillings.

In a smaller mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract, then pour this mixture into the flour-butter mixture. Mix gently until just combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to portion out 12 balls of dough onto the parchment. Flatten them slightly with the back of a spatula, then sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer until scones are frozen hard, then transfer them to a zip-close plastic bag.  

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the frozen scones on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Serve warm with good butter and jam.

Ginger lime syrup
• Two limes
• One large piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup water

Wash and dry the limes well. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the limes, taking care to only remove the top green layer and leave the white pith behind. Combine the lime peel, sugar, ginger and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for two minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool, then strain out the solids and store in a glass jar in the fridge. Keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge or for six months in the freezer.

Contact Ashley Meyer at Ashley@realcuisine.net.

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