Eggs-actly right: At the center of Easter brunch

News-DemocratApril 14, 2014 

There may be eggs hidden in the back yard or under the sofa in your family room, but the ones you really want to eat for Easter are on the dining room table.

Eggs are always front and center for Easter brunch, whether they are the deviled kind or used in a casserole.

Like many other event where the cook has to do double and triple duty getting ready for church or making sure the kids get their baskets, having food prepared ahead of time is essential -- and stress-relieving.

You'll find four egg recipes that will help keep the workload down on Sunday.

And what would a brunch be without some sweet rolls, though the recipe provided here strays from the classic cinnamon flavor and goes for some spring citrus zest: Sticky Lemony Breakfast Buns, which start with frozen bread dough.

You'll find some lemon flavor also in a dessert: Lemon Mini Cakes with Pecans and Strawberries.

And a mimosa (champagne and orange juice) is another classic brunch menu item, but if you wish to avoid alcohol but still enjoy the combination of flavors, substitute sparkling water. Or, try a Mock Mango Daiquiri.

For anyone not familiar with them, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg that is coated in in sausage, then deep-fried. They can be eaten cold or -- to add a few more calories -- hot with a side of gravy. However you eat them, the end result is a salty-savory-crunchy-tender-meaty ball of wonderful.

It turns out that baking the eggs in a very hot oven works nicely, producing a perfectly crisp outer coating without overcooking the tender egg inside. And saving some fat and calories.

BAKED SCOTCH EGGS

7 eggs, divided

1 pound loose breakfast sausage meat

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

Place 6 eggs in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and remove the pan from the heat. Allow to sit for 8 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water until chilled.

Divide the sausage into 6 equal patties, using about 1/3 cup each, then set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with the flour until smooth. Place the panko in another small bowl.

When the eggs are cool, heat the oven to 450 F. Carefully remove the egg shells and use paper towels to blot dry the eggs. One at a time, place each egg on one of the sausage patties. Use your hands to flatten and wrap the sausage around the egg until completely enclosed in sausage.

Dip each sausage covered egg first in the beaten egg, then in the panko. Mist each egg with cooking spray and arranging them on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and the sausage is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Servings: 6 Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories; 170 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 19 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 265 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 21 g protein; 520 mg sodium.

AP

The key to cooking eggs in the slow cooker is to create a foil ring, which helps prevent the edges from burning.

Slow-Cooker Bacon, Egg and Cheese Casserole

2 cans (11 ounces each) refrigerated crusty French loaf

12 eggs

1 pint (2 cups) half-and-half

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

1 pound thick-sliced bacon, cooked, coarsely crumbled

1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Remove dough from cans; place dough, seam side down, on cookie sheet. With sharp knife, cut 4 or 5 (1/2-inch-deep) slashes in top of dough. Bake 26 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

2. Line side of 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with foil folded into thirds; spray foil with cooking spray.

3. In large bowl, beat eggs and half-and-half with whisk. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the cheese, the bacon and bell pepper. Fold in bread cubes; stir to coat. Spoon mixture into slow cooker.

4. Cover; cook on low 4 to 5 hours (or high 2 to 3 hours), or until set and temperature in center is 160 degrees. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup cheese and the parsley over top. Cover; cook about 10 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted. Remove foil before serving by loosening edges with table knife.

Serves 8, each with 580 calories, 33 grams fat, 350 mg cholesterol, 1,010 mg sodium, 41 grams carbohydrates. Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 3 1/2 fat. Carbohydrate Choices:3.

Pillsbury

FIERY DEVILED EGGS

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon vinegar

Lettuce leaves

3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 cup minced celery

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Place eggs in a single layer in bottom of large saucepan; cover with water. Add vinegar to water. Bring to a full boil. Immediately remove from heat. Cover; let stand 15 minutes. Drain eggs and rinse with cold water. Set eggs in a bowl of ice water; cool.

2. To peel eggs, tap against side of counter. Gently remove shells, holding egg under running water. Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks to medium bowl. Arrange whites on a lettuce-lined platter.

3. To make filling, add hot sauce, mayonnaise and sour cream to egg yolks in bowl; Mix until well blended and creamy.

Stir in celery, onion and garlic powder; mix well.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into each egg white. Garnish, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 servings (about 1 1/2 cups filling).

Tip: Filling may be piped into whites through large star-shaped pastry tip inserted into corner of plastic bag.

Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce

Dairy-free mini cakes are rich with olive oil and lemon juice -- in fact, 1 cup of each. The tender cakes -- which deliver a delicious punch of lemon -- also are covered with strawberry jam, then with a layer of toasted and chopped pecans. Delicious, fresh and simple.

But these cakes also are versatile. If pecans aren't your thing, coat the cakes in flaked coconut or chopped pistachios. If strawberry jam doesn't do it for you, any variety of jam can be substituted. And if you don't like lemon, any other citrus juice can be substituted.

LEMON MINI CAKES WITH PECANS AND STRAWBERRIES

2 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 cup olive oil

1 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

9 1/2-ounce jar strawberry jam

1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Fresh strawberries, to garnish

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then line it with kitchen parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on high for 2 minutes.

While the eggs and sugar beat, in a measuring cup combine the olive oil and lemon juice. Into a small bowl, sift together the salt, baking powder and flour.

Add half of the oil-juice mixture to the eggs, then half the flour mixture, beating just to combine. Repeat with the remaining oil-juice and flour mixtures. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix one more time. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the pan.

Using a food processor, puree the strawberry jam until smooth.

When ready to assemble, use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut 20 discs from the cake. Use care to hold the cutter straight so that your cake rounds have straight sides. To assemble each mini cake, spread a small amount of the strawberry jam on 1 round of cake. Sandwich a second cake on top. Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam over the sides and top of the cake, then carefully roll the entire thing in the pecans. Garnish the top with a fresh strawberry. Repeat with remaining cake rounds to assemble a total of 10 mini cakes.

Servings: 10, each with 580 calories, 33 grams fat, 70 mg cholesterol; 69 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 40 grams sugar, 7 grams protein, 270 mg sodium.

AP

chocolate & peanut butter ribbon dessert

12 Nutter Butter or other peanut butter cookies, divided

2 tablespoons butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

12 ounces whipped topping, thawed, divided

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Crush 8 cookies; mix with butter. Press onto bottom of foil-lined 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Mix next 4 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until blended. Whisk in 3 cups whipped topping; spoon 1/2 cup into small bowl. Blend in melted chocolate. Spread half the remaining cream cheese mixture over crust; top with layers of chocolate mixture and remaining cream cheese mixture.

Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Invert onto plate. Remove foil, then re-invert dessert onto platter so crumb layer is on bottom. Coarsely break remaining cookies. Top dessert with remaining whipped topping and broken cookies. Makes 12 servings.

Phildelphia Cream Cheese

All you need to do is thaw the dough, roll it out, fill it, then roll it back up before slicing and baking. These buns are the perfect way to start Easter -- or any spring -- morning. You'll find loaves of frozen bread dough in the grocer's freezer section. Jars of lemon curd are alongside the jams and jellies.

STICKY LEMONY BREAKFAST BUNS

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

Two 1-pound loaves frozen white bread dough, thawed and allowed to come to room temperature

1/2 cup lemon curd

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle half of it on a clean counter.

Place 1 loaf of the dough on the sprinkled counter, then roll it out to form an 8-by-16-inch rectangle, with one of the long sides facing you.

Sprinkle the dough with the remaining sugar, then gently run the roller over the dough to ensure the sugar mixture sticks.

Roll out the second loaf to the same size, then set it on top of the first.

Spread the lemon curd over the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip bare along the long edge farther from you. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a log. Pinch the dough along the seam to seal it.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1-inch-wide rounds. Arrange the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until puffy. After 15 minutes, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the buns have risen, uncover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. The internal temperature of the buns should read 185 degrees. Allow to cool slightly before icing.

To make the icing, in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over the tops of the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 15, each with 250 calories, 6 grams fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 44 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 17 grams sugar, 7 grams protein, 370 mg sodium.

AP

Mock Mango Daiquiris

1 cup frozen mango chunks

2 tablespoons sugar

4 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

1/2 lime, peeled and halved again

2 cups ice cubes

1.Let the frozen mango sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

2. Once partially thawed, place the mango chunks in the blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend everything together for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Pour the drink into glasses and serve with a garnish of your choice.

QVC's Jill Bauer

EGG SALAD FANCY SCHMANCY

6 eggs

A small handful of fresh dill, chopped (plus more for serving)

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise

Sea salt and pepper

5.29-ounce box of tiny toasts

3.5 ounces of smoked salmon, sliced into small pieces

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and put on the stove over medium-high heat. When the water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and put on the timer for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off the hot water, then put the pot in the sink and let cold water run over the eggs until they're cool enough to peel. Grate the eggs and put them in a bowl.

2. Add the dill, capers, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

3. When ready to serve, spoon some of the egg salad on your tiny toasts, top with a piece of salmon and sprinkle a bit more dill on top. Makes enough for about 2 dozen hors d'oeuvres-size toasts

"Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent"

Easy Overnight Strata

Vegetable oil

4 cups crushed tortilla chips

8 oz tomato sauce

1/4 cup spicy salsa

2 cups low-fat milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded (or use a Mexican cheese blend)

3/4 cup egg whites

3 large eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup frozen white corn kernels, thawed

The night before:

1. Lightly oil a lasagna glass or ceramic dish. Combine the chips, tomato sauce and salsa in a large bowl. Add the milk, sour cream, shredded cheese, egg whites, beaten eggs and cumin to another bowl. Mix well. Combine the egg mixture with the chip mixture and add the cilantro, onion, tomatoes, black beans and corn. Mix thoroughly and pour spoon it into the prepared dish. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.

The next day:

2. Preheat the oven to 375(*161*) degrees. Let the casserole sit out for about 20 minutes, or until it warms to room temperature. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden and puffy. Allow it to cool for about 15-20 minutes before serving.

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