Chef Jamie Gwen shares Easter brunch ideas

Morning News

Chef Jamie Gwen shares ideas for a sweet and savory Easter brunch.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN PANCAKES

  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • 10 Dole canned pineapple slices, drained
  • 10 Maraschino cherries
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • Maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pancake mix, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1/4-cup of pancake batter to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Place a pineapple slice in the center of the pancake and a cherry in the center ring. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Continue to cook the pancake until the edges start to bubble, about 1 minute more, then flip the pancake and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until caramelized, about 3 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with maple syrup.


SAVORY SAUSAGE AND CHEDDAR STRATA

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound sweet or spicy raw ground pork sausage
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • One 1-pound loaf sliced Brioche bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups Half-and-Half
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking the meat into small clumps, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl and leave the fat in the pan. Add remaining butter along with the diced onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the mixing bowl with the sausage, along with bread cubes, cheese, and parsley. Toss well, then spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Whisk together eggs and half-and-half in another bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread mixture. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 45 minutes (bake for 1 hour if you take the casserole from the fridge to the oven!) or until until puffed and golden brown.


PUFF PASTRY, HAM, & EGG BASKETS

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 12 large eggs
  • 6 slices ham

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

On a lightly floured surface, unfold the puff pastry and roll into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Cut into twelve 4-inch squares.

Place each square into a muffin pan, pressing gently onto the bottoms and up the sides, allowing the corners to point up. Place a slice of ham in each pastry cup. Break an egg into a ramekin to ensure that the yolk is intact. Gently pour the egg into the center of each pastry cup. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, the egg whites are set, and the yolks begin to thicken— about 10-12 minutes.


GRILLED ASPARAGUS with SPRING PESTO,POACHED EGGS and CRISPY PROSCIUTTO

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 garlic clove (raw or roasted)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 slices prosciutto

To make the pesto, combine the walnuts and cheese in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the lemon zest, basil, mint and garlic and process until smooth.  Drizzle in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Preheat your grill to high heat.  Toss the asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill until crisp-tender and slightly charred, about 2-3 minutes. If using thin asparagus spears, grill only a short time, as they will cook quickly.

To poach the eggs, bring a shallow pot of water to a boil and add vinegar.  Reduce heat to medium.  Break each egg into a small ramekin to ensure that the yolk is intact.  Use a spoon to create a circular motion in the water, then add each egg to the pot one at a time.  (Swirling the water forces the egg white to coagulate around the yolk).  Poach the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes or until the yolk is still soft and the white is set.  Remove the eggs from the water and drain on paper towels.

For the crispy prosciutto, preheat your oven to 400ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and arrange the prosciutto slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 11 minutes. Cool until crispy.

To serve, pile the grilled asparagus on a platter and drizzle all over with the pesto.  Top with poached eggs.  Crumble the crispy prosciutto over the top and serve.


CARROT CAKE TRIFLE

  • 1 recipe homemade or 1 box carrot cake mix, prepared in a 9×13-inch baking pan
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cut the carrot cake into 1-inch cubes.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and Cool Whip and mix on low speed until well combined.

To assemble, in a trifle dish or individual glasses, start with a layer of carrot cake cubes, then a layer of the cream cheese mixture and repeat. Finish with chopped pecans on top.

Refrigerate until serving.


Originally aired on KTLA Weekend Morning News on Saturday, April 3, 2021.

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