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Sunday Brunch

Twice-Baked Cheddar Soufflés
Bacon and Turkey Sausages
Cinnamon Bun Muffins
Oatmeal Soda Bread
Grapefruit, Orange and Mint Salad

Brunch has increasingly become a favoured family/friends meal in our household. It seems to suit the schedules of all generations who gather around our table these days. Planned ahead, much of the preparation for this menu can be started in advance: fruit salad the night before; bread and muffin ingredients measured in advance, then finished and baked quickly in the morning;  and yes, even the soufflés can be baked for the first time the day before, then refrigerated and finished just before serving.

Twice-Baked Souffle

Twice-Baked Cheddar Soufflés
This recipe can take the fear away from soufflé-making since it is prepared in two stages. You can assemble and bake them well ahead of time, even the day before, remove them from the baking dishes and place in a large baking dish and store in the refrigerator until 20-30 minutes before serving. The recipe is from Lucy Waverman (Globe and Mail, April 2011) but I have adjusted it here slightly to increase both the first and second baking times. I found that after the first baking, my soufflés were slightly underdone which made them difficult to remove from their baking dishes while keeping their shape. Similarly, the second baking took longer than the original recipe and I have increased that time too.

1 T. unsalted butter
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. unsalted butter
3 leeks, white and light green part only, thinly sliced (about 2 ½ cups)
4 cups packed baby spinach
salt and freshly ground pepper

5 T. unsalted butter
5 T. flour
2 C.  milk
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 t. dried mustard powder
1 ½ cups aged cheddar, grated
6 eggs, separated

About 1 C. whipping cream
½ C. grated Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Prepare soufflé dishes: Grease 6 large (1 ¼ cup) soufflé dishes with 1 T. of the butter, then dust with grated Parmesan cheese. Set them aside while you make the soufflé base

Heat remaining 2 T. butter in a wide sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper, scrape into a large bowl and reserve.

Heat the 5 T. butter in a pot over medium heat. Slowly stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk. Add thyme and mustard powder and bring to boil, whisking for 1 minute, or until smooth and thick. Remove from heat, add cheddar and stir until melted . Add soufflé base to leek mixture and stir to combine. Cool slightly and stir in beaten yolks. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir one quarter egg whites through cheese base to lighten the mixture, then fold in remaining whites.

Divide soufflé mixture between prepared dishes. Place soufflé dishes into a roasting pan and fill pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of soufflé dishes. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown on top.

Remove roasting pan from oven and carefully lift soufflés onto a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen sides of each soufflé with a sharp knife, then turn out on to a shallow baking dish. Bake again right away as described below, or cover loosely and refrigerate for up to one day. Return soufflés to room temperature before baking.

Second Baking:
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Spoon about 2 T. of the whipping cream on top and around sides of each soufflé. Sprinkle tops with the 1/2 C. of grated Parmesan and bake for about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Cinnamon Bun Muffins
I first tasted these muffins at the lake cabin of my dear cousin and friend, Daphne. She is always the first one up in the morning, with a thoughtfully conceived menu plan to roll out for the lucky ones who follow their noses to the kitchen, where coffee is brewed and sweet aromas waft from the oven.

If making these muffins as a part of this entire brunch menu, I recommend that they be the first item baked in the morning because they must rest unbaked for 15 minutes, then started in a cold oven. After they are baked, turn your oven up to 450ºF. to prepare for baking the soda bread.

3 C. flour
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 t. rapid dry yeast
1  1/3  C. milk, room temperature
3 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten

Topping: 2 T. unsalted butter, 2/3 C. brown sugar, 3/4 t. cinnamon

Butter muffin pan (12). Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add milk, oil, vanilla and eggs. Beat until smooth. Divide into 12 cups and let rest 15 minutes.

With your fingers, mix topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over each muffin. With a knife, swirl topping through the dough, making sure to mix it well into each muffin. Place pan in COLD oven with a baking sheet underneath it to catch any butter overflow, and set temperature at 350ºF.  Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and centre springs back when pressed. Cool at least 30 minutes.

Oatmeal Soda Bread
This bread is so simple to prepare. If serving it for breakfast or brunch, you can speed up the process by grinding the oats and mixing them with the dry ingredients the night before. In the morning, just add the egg and buttermilk, combine and bake. It has a wholesome flavour, not too sweet, that lends itself to a variety of toppings: butter, jam, cheese, etc. If there happen to be any leftovers, it toasts extremely well: in fact, the oats gain a more “oat-y” flavour this way.

2 C. large flake oats
2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1 ½ C. buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Grease a large cast iron frying pan or large baking sheet and set aside.

Place oats in food processor and pulse until finely ground.

In a large mixing bowl, whist together the ground oats, flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Stir the buttermilk and egg together, make a well in the middle and pour in the egg mixture. Stir gently until just combined. The dough will look shaggy and moist. Place on a slightly floured surface, knead a couple of times just to form into a round shape and set on the greased baking pan. With a sharp knife, cut a cross about 1″ deep into the top of the dough.

Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400ºF. and cook for 25 minutes more. The bread should be light brown and if you turn it over and tap on the bottom, it should sound hollow. Remove bread from pan and cool it on a rack for about 20 minutes before slicing.

Grapefruit, Orange and Mint Salad
You can assemble this salad the night before, if you wish.

3 grapefruits, peeled and sectioned
3 large navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
zest of 1 lime and juice of 1-2 limes, or to taste
1-2 T. liquid honey, or to taste
2 T. fresh mint, chopped

Combine all ingredients and chill until ready to serve. Stir well, and spoon into small bowls.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sidney Williams #

    Sounds delish. Will you do it here? oxs

    From Sidney


    February 1, 2014
  2. Barbara Shumiatcher #

    Dear Diane! This looks absolutely scrumptious. I shall read when we get back from Maui next week – tempts me to have the family over for brunch! warm regards, Barbara

    February 2, 2014

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