Tag Archives: breakfast

Pear Pastry Braid

Pear Pastry BraidIt’s almost time for pie. Almost.

Yes, I know it’s November now, but I can’t just switch from Popcorn Balls to Pumpkin Pie on a dime. And truthfully, I’ve been concentrating too hard on the World Series and anticipating the new Scorsese film this week to fully get down to business with Thanksgiving. Rest assured though that the pies are coming. Sides, too! But first, this Pear Pastry Braid.Pear Pastry BraidI mean, do you see this beautiful thing? Is it brunch food? Is it dessert? I don’t know. I don’t make the rules. I just make the pastry.Pear Pastry BraidAnd oh, is this a good one. Pear Pastry Braid is super buttery and filled with tender pears that have been tossed with ginger, lemon, and a few tablespoons of sugar. Yum!Pear Pastry BraidDon’t let these glamour shots deceive you–it’s surprisingly easy to make. Simply roll out a sheet of rough puff pastry (or the frozen thawed all-butter stuff), make a bunch of diagonal cuts down both long sides and fill the center with sliced pear filling.Pear Pastry BraidPear Pastry BraidAlternating sides, carefully cover the filling with overlapping strips of dough, producing a braid-like appearance. Give it a brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar, and then let it bake til golden.Pear Pastry BraidSounds like a lot, but the time from when you start peeling pears to when you pull the finished pastry out of the oven is less than an hour. It can be sliced and served warm too, meaning that you don’t have to plan crazy far in advance (especially if you already have the pastry dough in the fridge). There’s so much planning around food this time of year that it’s kind of nice to have something you can make when the mood strikes or when someone says they’re going to pop by.Pear Pastry BraidYou know what else is nice? Eating a slice of sweet, flaky Pear Pastry Braid in your pajamas on a Saturday morning. Or a Saturday night. Or both.

What?! I don’t make the rules. I just make the pastry.Pear Pastry Braid

Pear Pastry Braid
makes 1 braid, about 6 servings

Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

Pear Filling:
4 medium firm-ripe pears
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Make Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the pear filling. Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler. Working with one pear at a time, use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim off both ends. Slice down through the stem end to halve the pear lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the pear as thinly as you can.

Place sliced pear pieces in a medium mixing bowl. Toss with 4 tablespoons sugar, ground ginger, salt, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper.

Assemble the pastry braid. Flour a rolling pin. Unfold dough on the prepared pan. Roll dough out to 12×16-inch rectangle. Orient the pan/rectangle so that the side nearest you is a short side.

Carefully dust the edge of a sharp knife with flour. Cut off two small corners of dough on the edge furthest from you. Leaving a 4×16-inch space in the center for the filling, cut 1-inch diagonal strips strips down both sides of the pastry, as pictured in the post.

Fill the pastry braid. Leaving 1/2-inch of space at each short end, mound pear filling along the center (intact) section of dough. Make sure to leave any accumulated liquid behind in the bowl. Dot filling with butter.

“Braid” the dough. Starting at the edge furthest from you, take a strip of dough and carefully lay it across the filling. Then grab a strip of dough from the right side and carefully lay it over the filling so that it is overlapping the first strip. Continue doing this, alternating left and right until you reach the end of the braid. Fold the short edges up slightly to seal.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.

Paint egg wash over all exposed pastry. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake pastry braid for 25-30 minutes, or until pastry is golden and pears are tender.

Let pastry braid cool on its pan on a rack. When you can handle it (I could at 30 minutes, although it was still warm), very carefully slip your hands palm-side-up under the pastry and quickly lift it onto a large cutting board or serving tray. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice it into pieces. Serve immediately.

Pear Pastry Braid is best the day it is made.

Note:

You may use frozen all-butter puff pastry instead. Thaw according to package directions and begin the recipe at the paragraph that begins “Make the pear filling.”Pear Pastry BraidPear Pastry BraidPear Pastry Braid

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Some foods are easier to photograph than others and…well…baked oatmeal is an “other.” It just is.

It doesn’t matter what I do to it or how good the light is, baked oatmeal is simply difficult to make into a beauty queen. It’s never going to be the belle of the ball. It’s oatmeal, after all. <—hey, that rhymes! Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}That said, what baked oatmeal lacks in aesthetic appeal (dull brown and lumpy 😬😬) it more than makes up in delicious whole grain flavor. This one is especially enticing—it’s made with a hefty scoop of pure pumpkin purée and big hit of pumpkin pie spice for maximum seasonal breakfast magic.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}It’s also very easy to make. The most difficult (if you can even call it that) step is toasting the oats, and that requires little to no actual brain power. Just scatter the oats onto a pan, put them in the oven, and set a timer. Boom. Done.

The rest of the process is simply adding dry ingredients (oats, pie spice, baking powder, salt) to wet (pumpkin purée, brown sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, milk). Whisk ‘em together, pour the mixture into a greased pie plate and bake just until the center is set. Then just scoop it into bowls, adorn as desired and serve. Really, it couldn’t be easier.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}My favorite thing about Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal? It reheats like a dream! This, in addition to being filling and fairly good for you, makes it perfect for weekday breakfasts. Just heat individual portions as needed and enjoy.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Of course, it’s also a great low-maintenance-but-still-“special” thing to make on the weekends. And I wouldn’t be disappointed to see it over the holidays.

Versatility, y’all. It’s a beautiful thing.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
makes about 6 servings

2 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk of choice

For serving:
maple syrup
butter
plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or other casserole dish. Set aside.

Place oats on a dry rimmed baking sheet (or other large pan) and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée and light brown sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by oil, vanilla, and milk. Mix in oat mixture.

Pour mixture into the prepared pie plate. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is lightly set.

Let oatmeal cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with maple syrup, butter, and/or yogurt. Oatmeal is best warm or at room temperature.

Leftover oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It reheats well in the microwave. Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThere’s little rhyme or reason as to what I choose to blog—it’s usually just whatever I’ve felt like making lately. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a breakfast kick. I’m not exactly sure how many fall breakfast options I think you need, but it’s at least three: waffles, a pumpkin-spiced oven pancake, and these Orange Cardamom Morning Buns.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsI mean, look at these sticky, swirly things! You need them. I need them. Preferably on Saturday morning alongside my daily French press.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThey’re flaky and fluffy, filled with a fragrant orange-cardamom sugar, and twisted to perfection. The crowning glory is a brush of orange-cardamom glaze as soon as the buns come out of the oven, which gives them an extra layer of flavor and their gleaming appearance.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOh, and they take two hours start-to-finish—a rarity in the from-scratch breakfast bun realm. And their twists? Much easier than they look. My motor skills are seriously lacking (I am comically bad with scissors), so if I can shape them, anyone can.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsJust twist a strip of dough and tie it in a knot. Boom, done.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsEven if you do it “wrong” (which is near-impossible), I promise they will still turn out beautifully. And even if they don’t (which is also near-impossible—can you see that I did this with one hand?), call ‘em rustic. That’s what I do. If anyone complains, eat theirs. That’s also what I do.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsWhat?! You don’t need that negativity at breakfast.Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
pinch of fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest. Use a fork to stir in cardamom and salt.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Mentally divide the dough into thirds, like an unfolded letter. Place half the sugar mixture in the middle third of the dough—it’ll be a 12×6-inch section surrounded by two buttered sections of the same size.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Brush the top of the folded section with more butter and scatter on the remaining sugar mixture. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place oven racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

While buns are baking, make the glaze. Combine orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cardamom and butter.

Use a pastry brush to brush warm buns with glaze. Buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning Buns

Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It’s that time! Tomorrow morning will be the first weekend breakfast of fall (even if you are regretting having packed away your summer clothes two weeks ago) and it should absolutely be this Pumpkin Puff Pancake. (And maybe bacon.)

(So many parentheticals today. Oy.)Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}This Pumpkin Puff is simply an autumnal take on my very favorite breakfast. Or maybe I should say “another” autumnal take—I made a Caramel Apple Puff a couple of years ago. You can have that next weekend though. This weekend, it’s all about the pumpkin.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Mix up your pumpkin pie spice, crack open a can of Libby’s, put some of both in a blender with the usual suspects, and whirl up a smooth pancake batter.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pour it in a screaming hot pan with plenty of butter and go find something to do for roughly 17 minutes. I recommend figuring out which Emmy-nominated show you can manage to binge watch in its entirety before the broadcast on Sunday night (When They See Us! Pose! Fosse/Verdon!). Or, alternatively, if you’re local, determining which panel you’re going to attend at the Brooklyn Book Festival (I’ll be at the 4pm “How We Eat at Home” panel to hear Anita Lo, Carla Lalli Music and Alison Roman).

(What is it with the parentheses today?)Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Anyway…when you have decided to watch Sharp Objects and a few episodes of The Good Place…oops, sorry.

*ahem*

When your time has elapsed and your pancake is puffy and voluminous and golden, remove it from the oven. It will be big, buttery and beautiful at first, but will quickly settle into a crinkly, custardy pancake in the shape of its pan. Also, it’s going to smell magnificent, as almost all pumpkin spice-scented things do.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Top it with whatever makes you happy—I went for my usual maple syrup and confectioners sugar, along with some toasted pecans. Keeping it seasonal, you know, because it’s officially fall in my kitchen and on this blog.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings

For the Puff Pancake:
1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée (I prefer Libby’s)
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For the pan:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For serving:
confectioners sugar
pure maple syrup
toasted pecans

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

In the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender, combine pumpkin purée, milk, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Process 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Let batter rest at least 5 minutes.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Bake 17-18 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

Remove pancake from oven—it will deflate quickly. Let cool 2-5 minutes before slicing and serving immediately with toppings of choice.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Sour Cream Waffles

Sour Cream WafflesI love baking with sour cream for the richness, tenderness and moisture it adds to my cakes and other baked goods, but I have no desire to eat it on anything but pierogis—and I never make pierogis. And so sour cream frequently gets sad and gross in the back of my fridge, having been forgotten until I run out of space for the next cake or bowl of cookie dough or yogurt container.

Until now, that is.Sour Cream WafflesA few weekends ago, armed with a half-container of sour cream leftover from making kolaches, I set out to make some waffles. I had previously tried Molly Wizenberg’s Waffles of Insane Greatness and was intrigued by Stella Parks’s Buttermilk Waffles, but wasn’t going to make either of those recipes because sour cream, duh.Sour Cream WafflesInstead I combined aspects of both recipes into The Best Waffles I Have Ever Eaten In My Life. We’re talking crispy edges and fluffy interiors, light and not too sweet, and gorgeous and golden. Truly, the best waffles I’ve ever eaten in my life.Sour Cream WafflesI have 24 of them in my freezer leftover from testing and have been toasting and eating them plain as a midnight snack for the last few weeks, so I can confirm: these are the fluffiest and crispiest and The Best Waffles I Have Ever Eaten In My Life. Period.Sour Cream WafflesReasons the insides stay nice and soft:

• Sour cream is creamy, rich, and thick, which means it adds lots of moisture and some heft to the batter. Also, it’s acidic, so it reacts with the baking soda in the batter to help with the fluff factor.
• Egg whites are used in their liquid state. That’s right—no whipped egg whites here! This is a waffle recipe for those of us who are never going to be up for whipping egg whites before they’ve had at least two cups of coffee. If you’re skeptical, baking queen Stella Parks says using liquid egg whites instead of the more traditional whipped ones creates more moisture in waffle batter, which creates more steam, which creates a fluffier waffle, and—no surprises—she’s right.Sour Cream Waffles
• The dry ingredients include a large amount of cornstarch. Here, it impedes gluten-development in the same way that it does in cakes, producing a more tender texture.
• This recipe calls for a fifteen minute rest after you’ve prepared the batter. This allows the developed gluten to relax and gives your waffle iron time to get screaming hot, which is important for crispy edges! Speaking of which…Sour Cream WafflesReasons the outsides get crispy:

• Sugar. There isn’t much in this recipe, but the small amount is crucial for crispy waffle success. It caramelizes against the hot iron creating both crisp texture and golden color.Sour Cream Waffles
• Making sure your waffle iron is HOT. I let mine heat for at least 15 minutes.
• Letting the waffles cook until the steam dissipates. That may mean that your waffles take 6-7 minutes instead of the 4-5 it takes for the “ready” light to come on, but I promise you it’s worth the extra wait.Sour Cream WafflesI mean, look at that. Does breakfast get any better than that? I don’t think so.Sour Cream WafflesNeedless to say, half-containers of sour cream are a hot commodity around here now.Sour Cream Waffles

Sour Cream Waffles
makes about 8 4-inch waffles

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
2/3 cup full-fat sour cream
2 large egg whites, room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the waffle iron:
cooking spray

For serving:
butter
warmed maple syrup
seasonal fruit

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large liquid measuring cup (or small mixing bowl), use a fork to whisk together whole milk and sour cream. Whisk in egg whites, melted butter and vanilla.

Add liquid ingredients to dry in two installments, whisking until combined and mostly smooth (a couple of small lumps are okay). Let batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes while the waffle iron is heating.

Preheat oven to 200F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup of the waffle batter into each well of the iron and close the top. Let cook until steam dissipates and the waffles are turning golden, about 6 minutes.

Transfer cooked waffles to the prepared rack-over-pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Re-grease the waffle iron and cook remaining batter.

Serve waffles with butter, warmed maple syrup, and seasonal fruit, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Leftovers may be layered with parchment, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the toaster.Sour Cream WafflesSour Cream WafflesSour Cream Waffles