By Tina Wasserman
Mother’s Day is upon us and there is no mother alive who wouldn’t prefer a handmade gift from her child to a store-bought one (that’s Dad’s department) The most iconic treat for Mom is being served breakfast that she didn’t make (and maybe even served in bed).
The problem with this tradition is it often requires a lot of work in the morning, and if one has young children, this is almost impossible to achieve unless you are looking at coffee and a bagel.
The following recipes are delicious, impressive and can all be assembled at the very last minute if some preparation has been done the day before. All breakfast categories are covered, so make your choice. But, don’t just make these recipes for Mom. Enjoy them anytime you want for yourself or your company.
Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Challah French Toast
This recipe takes basic French toast to new heights. If you start out with rich challah bread, how can you go wrong? Children of all ages like to make French toast. It requires few utensils, and short attention spans are no problem. Even better: Moms will love it.
I use ice cream in this recipe, because it is more likely that you have a container of ice cream in the house than a container of heavy cream or even half-and-half. Plus, children think it’s funny to have ice cream in their breakfast. This recipe can easily be made with milk and can certainly be doubled, which is not a bad idea if you want to serve more than two people. If your challah is homemade, it will absorb more of the custard mixture.
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup premium vanilla ice cream, half-and-half or milk
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Challah bread, crust included
2 or more tablespoons unsalted butter
Pure maple syrup, powdered sugar or fruit, if desired
1. Combine the egg and a pinch of salt in a 2-quart bowl.
2. Add the ice cream or milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla to the bowl and whisk well to combine and fully melt the ice cream, if using. Pour into a 9-inch pie plate or flat-bottom bowl. Set aside while you prepare the bread.
3. Cut the bread into four ¾-inch slices. If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut designs from the center of the slices (heart shape would be perfect for Mommy).
4. Place 2 bread slices or shapes in the egg/cream mixture. Turn slices over to absorb more egg mixture, but be careful they don’t absorb too much, or they will fall apart when transferred to skillet.
Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat for 15 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet, and swirl the pan around to melt the butter and coat the bottom.
5. Using a large metal spatula, carefully lift the bread slices from the egg/cream mixture and fry on one side until bottom of bread is golden brown. Turn slices over and continue cooking until the slices are soft, but evenly golden.
6. Remove to a warm plate and continue frying more bread slices or shapes until all the egg/cream mixture is used. Add more butter to empty pan between adding additional slices.
7. Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar and/or fresh fruit, if desired.
Serves 2-4, depending on size and shape of bread.
• This is an easy, but fancy, way to make French toast. All ages can make this, but very young children MUST be on a sturdy step stool that will bring the stove to their waist height. I like to hold the child by the waist with my left arm and help them add the bread with my right.
• Two-to-4-year-olds might be intimidated by the stove, so you might wind up doing all of the cooking. That’s OK. They helped with the preparation, and will be satisfied.
Tomato Basil Crustless Quiche
Adapted from Joan Nathan
People often ask me where I get my recipes. Do I make them up, copy them or recreate old recipes? The answer is yes to all, except I never “copy” a recipe without revising it and giving credit to the original author.
The following recipe is originally from my dear friend, and fellow member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Joan Nathan. Joan and I are among five members worldwide who specialize in Jewish cuisine. Joan discovered this recipe in a Parisian bakeshop. I tried the recipe and loved it. However, this required all preparation just before serving. I felt it was undoable for a brunch or breakfast until I figured out how it could be prepared in advance, and assembled just before baking.
This recipe is perfect for children of all ages to make (with adult supervision, of course) and to serve to Mom on her special day.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
¼ cup whole fresh basil leaves
6 large eggs
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (any fat content is OK) or Crème Fraiche
1 cup milk
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
20 grindings of black pepper or to taste
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1. Wet a piece of parchment paper larger than your 10-inch springform pan. Squeeze the paper to remove most of the liquid, then line your pan on the bottom and partially up the sides. Grease the paper with some olive oil.
2. Place basil leaves in a small cup, and coat with olive oil, letting them soften. Cover and set aside until ready to bake your quiche.
3. Place the eggs, yogurt, milk, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour, salt and pepper in a blender container. Blend mixture until it is smooth. Cover blender container and refrigerate until ready to bake your quiche; overnight is fine.
4. Place the cherry tomatoes in the prepared pan. Re-blend contents of the blender jar, then pour gently over the tomatoes so they stay in one layer. Place the basil leaves throughout the tomatoes.
5. Place the quiche in a cold oven, and then turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Cook the quiche for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the quiche starts to turn slightly golden on top. Remove from pan and carefully transfer from paper to a serving dish, or just trim paper so it is not visible. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
• Parchment paper can always be cut to fit a pan, but wetting and crumpling allows you to mold it to the pan and prevents liquids from oozing out the bottom of a springform pan that doesn’t have a tight seal.
• This can be made in a greased, deep, quiche pan and served directly from the baking dish.
• Mixture should not be mixed in a processor. You need a smooth consistency and cheese solids will hydroplane over the blades of a processor. If you don’t have a blender, whisk all of the ingredients together by hand initially, and before you pour into the prepared pan.
Morning Glory Muffins
Mom not a big breakfast eater? Not a lot of time to make and share breakfast? Here’s a perfect muffin that can be assembled in advance, then mixed and baked just before you treat Mom. “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven” and it’s much better and healthier when made from scratch!
1½ cups flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup shredded coconut
2 large Fuji or Honeycrisp apples, grated with the skin
2/3 cup oil
1. In a 4-quart bowl, mix together the first 10 ingredients. Cover and set aside until you are ready to bake your muffins.
2. Grate the apples in a processor on the coarse disk, or grate by hand. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, if not using right away.
3. When you are ready to make your muffins, heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line 18-24 muffin cups with paper liners.
4. In a 2-quart bowl, whisk eggs and the oil until they are completely blended.
5. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is completely moistened. Batter will be stiff, but don’t overmix. Add the grated apples and stir only until thoroughly incorporated.
6. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
7. Remove the muffins from the tins or turn muffins on their sides to cool.
Yield 24 muffins.
• The apple skin adds nutrients to the mixture and makes this recipe ideal for children. It saves time, as peeling isn’t necessary.
• When oil is the fat in a recipe, combining it thoroughly with the eggs — which contain fat — creates an emulsion much like mayonnaise. The result is a moist and light product. When they are not combined thoroughly your cake or muffins are greasy and heavy.