Chef Jamie Gwen’s Easter Recipes

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A big thank you to Smart & Final and Melissa's Produce.

Food Stylist: Peilin Breller

For more information on Chef Jamie Gwen, visit her website.


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Plan a couple of hours of proof time to allow the cake to rise before baking…But know that this deliciously sweet and gooey cake is worth the wait!

  • 1 24-count package of frozen dinner rolls, thawed but not risen
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 4-ounce box of Cook & Serve butterscotch pudding
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Grease a standard-size Bundt pan. To prepare to assemble the cake, cut each thawed dinner roll in half. Combine the pudding mix and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Arrange a layer of the dinner rolls in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Repeat layering the rolls and sprinkling the mixture, until all the rolls are used up. Cover the pan with a towel and place it in a warm place to rise for approximately 2 hours.

When rolls have risen to the top of the Bundt pan, preheat the oven to 350°F. Dot the top of the proofed cake with the pieces of butter. Bake the coffee cake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the Bundt pan onto a serving plate. Serve the coffee cake warm.

The sweet and salty flavor of this ham is out of this world!

1/2 cup Dulce de Leche
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
One 10-pound bone-in spiral sliced ham
1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  In a small bowl, whisk the Dulce de Leche with the two mustards, the garlic and cayenne.  Whisk in 1/4 cup of the stock.

Trim the skin off the ham, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick layer of fat.  Score the fat in a shallow cross-hatch pattern. Spread the onion slices on the bottom of a large roasting pan.  Set the ham on top and add 1/2 cup of the stock.  Cover the roasting pan with foil and roast the ham for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and brush the ham with all but 1/4 cup of the Dulce de Leche glaze.  Roast the ham for 1 hour longer, or until nicely glazed all over.  Transfer the ham to a cutting board and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the pan drippings into a small saucepan and skim off as much of the fat as possible.  Set the roasting pan over 2 burners. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom and side of the pan.  Pour the deglazed liquid into the saucepan.  Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of Dulce de Leche glaze and bring the mixture to a boil.  Transfer the gravy to a gravy boat.  Thinly slice the ham and serve with the gravy.

Serves 12



This recipe is reminiscent of a family favorite from a casual Italian restaurant we loved! It’s the ultimate comfort food and can be prepared using the leftover ham and cheeses in your fridge.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs
1 pound rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces cooked ham, diced
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 ounces shredded provolone cheese
4 ounces shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toss well. Set aside.

Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain well. Set aside and keep warm.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook the roux for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Add the ham and cheeses, stirring until the cheeses melt. Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover the pasta and sprinkle the top with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake 5 minutes more or until golden.



1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, (about 3 large carrots)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed until well combined. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice; stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed until just blended. By hand, mix in the oats and carrots. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

Using a 1/2-ounce ice-cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake until browned and crisped, rotating the pan halfway through baking to ensure even color, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.



Biscotti is an Italian Cookie that means "Twice-Baked". At Easter time, the jelly beans are the perfect festive addition, but chocolate chips, toasted nuts and anise seeds taste delicious as well.

  • One 13 ounce bag of Jelly Beans
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Parchment Paper or a silpat mat

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream them together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add three eggs, one egg at a time, and incorporate. Beat in the vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the baking powder, salt and flour. Add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until fully incorporated. Do not over mix; the dough should be soft and sticky.  Stir in the jellybeans or desired additions.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface. Put flour on your hands and sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Cut the dough in half and take one half and roll it out slightly to form a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Place the dough on a silpat mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (Don't be worried if the dough is so soft it bends when you pick it up.) Repeat with the second half of dough. Beat the last egg in a bowl and using a pastry brush, brush the dough to coat. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and for 10 minutes.

Place the rectangles of baked dough on a cutting board and slice the dough into 3/4 inch slices, using a serrated knife, to form the biscotti. Place the cookies back on the cookie sheet, cut side up and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Who doesn’t love Buttercake?

For the Crust
1 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened

For the Filling
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar

For the Topping
1 pound strawberries, quartered
2 cups heavy whipping cream

To make the Crust:  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Whisk together the cake flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet (wet your hands slightly to make this process easier!).

To make the Filling: Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until just combined. Alternate adding the flour and evaporated milk, mixing after each addition. Mix in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the cake is nearly set (do not overcook!).

Let the cake cool in pan for 2 hours.

To serve, beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Pile heaps of fresh strawberries into the center of your cooled buttercake, top with a mountain of freshly whipped cream and serve.

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