8 Easy Easter Brunch Recipes

Sweet and savory options for a no-fuss holiday celebration.

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

1. Croque Madam Casserole

12 slices day-old, thick-cut white bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 1/4 cups grated Gruyere (about 10 ounces), divided
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
12 thin slices Black Forest ham
6 large eggs
nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If bread is not a day old or still feels moist, arrange slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, flipping once, until dry to the touch but not toasted, 5 – 10 minutes. Using a 2-inch ring, cookie cutter or sharp paring knife, cut a hole in the center of six bread slices. Trim bread to fit in two even layers in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, with the whole slices on the bottom and the slices with holes on the top, forming six sandwiches. Remove from dish.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until light golden brown and thickened, about 3 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, whisking, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 4 – 6 minutes. Reduce heat to very low. Whisk in nutmeg, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Whisk in 1 cup Gruyere a handful at a time.
3. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Arrange six whole slices of bread in a single layer. Spread Dijon evenly on bread. Top each slice with two slices of ham. Spread another third of the sauce over ham. Sprinkle with 1 cup Gruyere. Place six bread slices with holes on top. Spread remaining sauce over sandwiches. Crack one egg into each hole. Sprinkle with remaining Gruyere. Season with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
4. Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick spray. Place foil, greased side down, over baking dish, and fold to seal. Bake on middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove foil, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, move dish to top rack of oven, and bake until egg whites are just barely set and yolks are still runny (eggs will continue to cook slightly when removed from oven), 8 – 12 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

2. Asparagus Tarte

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 1/2 pounds medium asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the puff pastry to make a 16-by-10-inch rectangle.
2. Place the dough on a baking sheet and pierce with a fork repeatedly. Run a sharp knife around the dough 1 inch from the edge to make a border that will puff. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
3. Rinse the asparagus, dry and discard the tough ends. Remove pastry from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Arrange asparagus in a single layer over cheese. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Bake until asparagus is tender, 20 – 25 minutes. Serves 8

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Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

3. Rosemary Scones

4 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and rosemary in a large bowl.
3. Divide butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Make a well in the center of flour and butter mixture. Gently incorporate cream into the well until dough pulls together. Turn out onto a lightly floured table and form into a 1-inch thick round. Cut with a biscuit cutter.
5. Place dough on a parchment-covered sheet pan and freeze at least 30 minutes. Dough can be baked immediately or stored in a sealed container and frozen for up to 30 days.
6. Before baking, brush the tops of scones with egg wash. Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Add baked ham bites and a dollop of Jezebel Sauce (below) to each sliced scone.

Jezebel Sauce

1 10-ounce jar apple jelly
1 10-ounce jar pineapple preserves
1/2 jar prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard

1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight.

4. Cheese Grits

1 quart milk
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup butter, divided
1 cup grits
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring milk to a boil. Add 1/2 cup butter and stir in grits. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of oatmeal (about 5 minutes).
3. Remove grits from heat, add salt and pepper and beat mixture well.
4. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup butter and Gruyere, and pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
5. Bake 1 hour and serve warm. Serves 10

5. Monkey Bread

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 ounces each) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large-storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
2. Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding pecans to the biscuit pieces.
3. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter. Pour over biscuit pieces.
4. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate and serve warm. Serves 10

6. Missionary’s Downfall

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

A surprisingly strong drink that can waylay the best of intentions, as the name reminds.
Recipe adapted from “Come On In,” a cookbook by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi.

1 small can frozen limeade
1 limeade can measurement of vodka
1 handful fresh mint leaves

  1. Fill blender with ice. Add limeade, vodka and mint leaves. Blend until mint leaves are finely chopped. Serve in glasses garnished with fresh mint sprigs. Serves 4.

7. Chess Bars

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

These creamy bites are the perfect “pick up” dessert. Recipe courtesy of Betty Luce, as found in “One of a Kind,” a cookbook by the Junior League of Mobile.

1 package butter cake mix
1 egg
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese
16 ounces (1 box) powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla. Spread into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
  3. In a clean bowl, beat eggs, cream cheese and sugar. Pour on top of cake mixture and bake 30 – 40 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Yields 24 bars.

8. No Fuss Bagel Board

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

No time to cook? Or just don’t want the hassle? Try our “straight from the grocery bag” bagel bar. It’s self-serve, so guests can eat when they are ready without the host slaving over a hot stove. Just follow these tips for sure success:

  • Start with salmon. Smoked fish, cream cheese, capers, red onion and lemon wedges are a brunch staple.
  • Add something sweet. Butter, jam and a few cinnamon raisin bagels will please the breakfast traditionalists.
  • Go veg! Hummus, avocado and some sliced tomatoes are key.
  • Don’t forget a few extras! Mix your own “everything bagel” seasoning with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt, dried garlic and dried onions. Guests will love to sprinkle it over a schmear.
  • Lettuce always adds a nice jolt of color to the oversized platter.
  • Luxe toppings like caviar are a sure hit!

Did you try one of our recipes? Share your photos with us on Instagram! Tag us at @mobilebaymagazine or use #MBeats

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