Archive for: breakfast
Pain perdu is a great dish to make on a lazy weekend morning when you have a loaf of slightly stale, rustic bread leftover from the night before. Pain perdu is another way of saying French toast, but I tend to associate it with French toast made with a more rustic, French-style bread than French toast made from ordinary sandwich bread. The bread is soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk before being cooked until golden brown in a skillet, and it is one of the very best ways that you can use leftover bread.
I often use challah or soft sandwich bread to make french toast. More rustic loaves make french toast – or pain perdu – with a heartier overall texture, although they still have a soft and tender center. You’ll have to soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture quite a bit longer than you would with a more delicate bread, partly to ensure that the thick slices get soaked all the way through and partly to ensure that the dense crust on rustic loaves softens enough. If you’re working with a particularly dense bread, use a fork to poke small holes in it as it soaks to ensure that the custard really gets into the bread.
Country-style loaves and even sourdough breads can make fantastic pain perdu and you’ll get great flavor in the finished dish. My basic batter is flavored with vanilla and a little cinnamon, but you can incorporate all kinds of spices to give your breakfast an even more complex (and tasty) flavor.
If you have a waffle iron, the odds are good that you don’t take it out and use it nearly often enough. For most people, waffle making is a weekend activity that involves making a mess and spending a lot of time in the kitchen. For some waffle recipes – especially yeast waffles – this is true, but waffle making doesn’t have to be difficult. A streamlined recipe like these Blender Waffles lets you make waffles in less then five minutes, which means that you can have them any time and get a lot more use out of that waffle iron.
The waffle batter is mixed up entirely in a blender. It’s a simple recipe make with flour, milk, butter and flavored with a hint of vanilla. The waffles are crisp and tender, and while you can taste a hint of vanilla, they’re plain enough that you can top them with syrup, fresh fruit, whipped cream or just about anything else you can think of. The batter makes excellent waffles in regular waffle irons and in Belgian-style waffle irons (which I used here), that make waffles with very deep, syrup-catching squares.
This waffle recipe also makes a good base for other flavors. Cinnamon, cloves and other spices can be added to give these waffles a warm and wintry flavor. Fresh lemon or orange zest can be added to give them a light flavor, perfect for a spring or summer brunch. The recipe makes 4 large waffles and can easily be doubled to serve a bigger crowd – although you might need to do two batches if you don’t have a large blender.
When making waffles, preheat your oven to about 200F and store the waffles in there as you’re cooking to keep them crispy until you’re ready to serve them. Leftovers freeze well and can be reheated in the toaster or in the oven.
As much as I enjoy pancakes, I have to admit that it is difficult to beat out a stack of freshly made waffles for breakfast. Pancakes always seem so simple and homey, so easy to throw together. Waffles actually don’t take much more time to put together than pancakes, but somehow they seem fancier and more time-intensive. For this reason, I tend to be much more likely to throw together a batch of pancakes for breakfast than a batch of waffles early in the morning. It also makes me appreciate this overnight waffle recipe even more, because it takes all of the effort out of making waffles for breakfast.
These Overnight Buttermilk Waffles are yeast waffles where the batter is prepared the night before you plan to make the waffles. The batter is left to ferment in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours before cooking, which allows the batter plenty of time to rise. In the morning, a small amount of baking soda is stirred into the batter before cooking, which reacts with the dough and aerates it even more. The result is a fluffy waffle that is crisp on the outside with a moist and tender interior that takes only minutes to cook.
The waffle batter is made with butter and buttermilk, and they have a rich, buttery flavor to them. If you have a Belgian waffle maker, you are going to have a slightly lighter waffle than a flatter waffle iron will produce with this recipe, but you can definitely make these with any type of waffle iron.There is only a tiny amount of sugar in the batter, so they’re perfect for serving with maple syrup or with whipped cream and fresh berries.
When you think of danish, you probably think of buttery pastries made with many layers of tender dough and filled with anything from sweet cream cheese to fresh fruit to nuts. A danish is definitely a decadent way to start off the day, but it is also fairly time consuming to make the dough from scratch if you want to bake your own. This Quick and Easy Braided Cherry Danish offers a simpler, more streamlined alternative to traditional danishes. The dough is still buttery and rich, but it contains no yeast and can be ready to put into the oven only minutes after getting out your ingredients.
This danish reminds me of the Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread that I’ve made several times because of the way it translates a usually time-consuming recipe into a much simpler one. This recipe was based on one that I saw on the Smucker’s website that calls for Bisquick as a base for the pastry. My dough doesn’t use any baking mixes and is just as easy to make. The dough is made with butter and cream cheese, both of which are cut into a mixture of flour, salt, leaveners and sugar before milk is added to form a dough. You can get a very flaky dough by leaving the butter and cream cheese in fairly large chunks when you cut them into the flour mixture. The pastry, once baked, will be heavier than a danish dough made in the traditional way and a bit more biscuit-like. That said, it is still a light, very tender and very tasty base for a much-less-time-consuming danish with a great buttery flavor that is a perfect canvas for all kinds of fillings.
I filled my danish dough with all natural cherry preserves that had lots of cherries in them. You can use any kind of preserves you like, but I definitely recommend using something with juicy pieces of whole fruits and being generous when you spread it onto the dough. The more filling you use, the more flavorful your danish will be. Good quality preserves are the easiest choice, but you can make your own filling by cooking fresh fruit with sugar (like making a pie filling) until thick on the stovetop and using that as your filling, too.
This danish is excellent when it is freshly made, when the top of the pastry is slightly crisp and the filling is still slightly warm from the oven. It can be baked a day in advance, but the pastry is at its peak that first day. Fortunately, since it is so easy to make, this is the perfect dish to throw together on a weekend morning for a homemade pastry to enjoy with your coffee.
I never need an excuse to break out my ebelskiver pan and cook up some of those delightful spherical pancakes on a weekend morning. You do need a special pan to make them, but ebelskivers are just as easy to make as regular pancakes and might taste just a little bit better due to their shape and size. In fact, the recipe is very much like a more traditional pancake recipe and contains all of the same ingredients. The primary difference is that the eggs added to ebelskiver batter are usually separated and the whites are beaten to stiff peaks and folded in to add extra lightness and to the center of the pancake, creating more of a contrast with the slightly crisp exterior of each ebelskiver.
As you can do with regular pancakes, you can add all kinds of flavorings to ebelskiver. They are often served plain, but other traditional ways to serve them include filling them with jam or pieces of fruit. For this batch, I added some fresh blueberries to the center of each pancake. This is an easy change to make in the original recipe, because I all you need to do is press a couple of berries down into the center of the batter-filled cavity before the pancakes firm up. The trick is to just use 2-4 berries (depending on size) so that you don’t overwhelm the pancake and keep those berries neatly contained.
The result is great, and as much as I like traditional blueberry pancakes, it’s fun to bite into one of these ebelskiver hot off the pan and get a burst of warm, sweet berry flavor. I might mix these up in the future to include other berries, but blueberries seem to be just the right size to easily tuck into these breakfast treats.