Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Back Brunch

The very best day of the year to host a brunch is Sunday, November 4, the weekend following Halloween.  Overnight we “fall back” to standard time and no one’s stomach knows what time it is- breakfast or lunch.  The extra hour gives you time to make brunch.

Even better, here our two recipes that can be made and frozen ahead of time.  The first is a caramel apple coffee cake and the second is a sausage cheese roll baked in store-bought puff pastry. 

Take each dish out of the freezer when you set the clocks back on Saturday night and they will be ready to heat on Sunday morning.  A simple fruit salad or a platter of scrambled eggs completes the meal and makes this a really simple way to enjoy entertaining.  Ask a volunteer to be in charge of coffee, tea, milk/yogurt smoothies blended with frozen fruit or hot cider. 

Make Ahead Caramel Apple Coffee Cake
Makes 2 cakes, each serves 6-8
Caramel Apple Top:
2 apples
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
dash salt
optional: 1/2 cup raisins or toasted, chopped pecans

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour- all purpose or white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal flour (oatmeal flakes pulverized in food processor or blender to a fine flour-like consistency; measure after pulverizing)
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Prepare metal or aluminum pie plates – bottom and sides--by coating well with butter.  melting the butter in the warming oven is helpful.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of pan and top with sliced, peeled apples.  Set aside while you prepare the batter for the coffee cake. Note: If you are planning to freeze the coffeecake, it is best to keep it in the pie plate so use one you can spare for a week or two.  
  2. Place stick of butter and 1 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  
  3. In a small bowl, mix together flour, oatmeal flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  
  4. Pour buttermilk into a large measuring cup and add cracked eggs and vanilla.  Stir well to break up the eggs.  
  5. Add liquid and flour mixtures to butter-sugar mixture in 2 stages, wet ingredients first.  Once incorporated, beat on medium 2-3 minutes.  
  6. Carefully pour batter over apples in pie plates.  Bake for 30 minutes.  
  7. If serving that day, run a dull knife around edge of pie plate and flip onto a large serving plate.  Caramelized apples and coffee cake will come right out onto plate for serving. If freezing, leave cake in pie plate and wrap well.  Defrost several hours before serving.  When ready to serve, reheat covered coffee cake at 300˚F for 15 minutes to soften brown sugar so the cake will release easily when flipped onto a warmed platter. 
Sausage Roll
This simple sausage roll in pastry was inspired by a rich stuffed crepe recipe that is topped with a sour cream sauce.  While this baked pastry version looks equally impressive, it takes very little time and is easy to eat with knife and fork or by hand, held in a napkin.  You can lighten it up substantially by using turkey sausage and low fat cheeses.  Bake and freeze to reheat later or freeze ready to bake on the day you need it. 

This recipe can be divided in half to make one thicker roll instead of three rolls however since it freezes so well it is worth making the whole thing so you will have an extra appetizer available during the upcoming holidays. 

Cheesy Sausage en Croute
Makes three rolls
1/2 lb breakfast sausage (1/2 package)
1/2 lb turkey sausage
3 oz cream cheese
3 oz  grated cheddar, about 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper
1 sheet puff pastry

  1. Cook sausage meats until thoroughly browned and cooked.  Drain well and cool enough to be able to handle.  Mix cooked sausage with cheeses and herbs.  
  2. Divide meat mixture in thirds and roll each section into a roll about 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long.  Wrap rolls individually in plastic wrap or tin foil and refrigerate overnight or until firm (a few hours).
  3. Meanwhile, defrost puff pastry according to package directions.  Roll out pastry and cut into 3 strips.  Wrap each sausage log in pastry and seal with an egg wash.  
  4. Sausage rolls may be prepared up to this point and either kept refrigerated until you are ready to bake and serve (a few hours ahead) or frozen.  If frozen, do not defrost, but add 5 minutes to cooking time.
  5. Preheat oven to 400˚.  Place sausage rolls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cook 10-12 minutes until pastry is nicely browned.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  This will allow rolls to cool and set up for easier slicing.  
  6. Slice on the diagonal into 1-2”pieces.  Serve plain or with sour cream and hot sauce.