Taking Mom out to brunch on Mother’s Day is a special treat, but planning and hosting your own brunch for her is more memorable and personal. It’s especially thoughtful when you create a sophisticated menu, design an upscale tablescape, and set a relaxed-yet-celebratory ambiance all for her.
An Enticing Spread
To make preparation easier, you can follow our recipe for Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding. It’s a delicious take on a classic French sandwich that you can make a day or two in advance, keep refrigerated, and then warm up right before brunch. Create a charcuterie board that includes her favorite cheeses, meats, crudités, and breads or crackers. Serve it with an enticing cocktail like our Pomegranate Elderflower Spritz for a truly delightful meal that she’s sure to love.
Chic Table Décor
If you don’t have extra-special dinnerware or China (or perhaps you just don’t have enough pieces for everyone attending), don’t fret. Renting fabulous table décor makes it simple and practical to set a swoon-worthy table that will feel like you’ve gone out of your way to make the day all about Mom.
Look for a local party or event rental company to help you create the perfect stylish atmosphere for Mother’s Day. Many rental companies offer gorgeous silk florals, colorful table linens, fashionable rugs, and more. Search for party or event rentals and be sure to read reviews and view any photos to see the types of services they offer and the range of décor they provide.
The more you can do before the party, the more relaxed the day will be. A day or two before Mother’s Day, make the brunch bread pudding and store in the fridge. You can also get seating arranged, put together your table décor, and cut up any crudites for the charcuterie board and store in the refrigerator. If you’re using name cards, make sure you’ve printed or written them out and set them up with the table décor. Arrange any centerpieces on the table and make sure linens and place settings are complete.
If you have your own Spring flowers for the table, cut and arrange them before the brunch and pick a few extra for Mom. You can also purchase bouquets and arrangements from a local floral shop or rent silk floral décor from an event rental company. Just be sure to arrange flowers so that they aren’t blocking your guests’ view across the table.
On Mother’s Day
The day of, heat up your bread pudding in the oven. Then arrange your precut items on your charcuterie board. Mix up a pitcher of drinks and then get ready for your guests to arrive—especially the guest of honor! When you’ve prepared as much as you can in advance, things will be more relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.
Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding
Time 1 hr 30 min | 12 servings
1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus extra for coating pan
1 yellow onion roughly chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
8 large eggs
1 ½ cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon hot sauce
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 pound loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 4.5 ounces)
1 pound Parisian ham cut into ½ -inch pieces
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
How to make it
Oven dry your bread by spreading on a sheet pan and placing in a 225°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Bread should be very dry but not have any color. The dried bread can be made ahead of time. Keep in a cool dry place for up to 4 days.
Coat a 11 x 9-inch baking dish with butter and set aside. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. When butter begins to foam add the onions and season with kosher salt, stir, and cook until just softened about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until beginning to soften and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in thyme.
To make the custard whisk eggs, half-and-half, Dijon, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in a large bowl until evenly combined. Arrange half of the bread at the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the Gruyère and half each onion mix and ham.
Repeat layering with remaining bread, onion mixture, ham, and Gruyère cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top.
Press the bread cubes into the dish to ensure bread is submerged in egg custard, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 325°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Let the dish sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before baking.
Bake for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 375°F. Remove the pan from the oven and top evenly with parmesan. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and the edges pull away slightly. Remove from oven and sprinkle over remaining thyme. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Bread pudding can be baked up to three days ahead of time then stored covered in the refrigerator. Rewarm it in a low oven (200°F) until warmed through, about 30 minutes.
Pomegranate Elderflower Spritzer
Time 5 minutes | Makes 1 cocktail
½ ounce pomegranate juice
½ ounce elderflower liqueur
2 ounces sparkling rosé or cava
2 ounces seltzer
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
How to make it
Combine pomegranate juice and elderflower liqueur in the bottom of a glass, stir, add sparkling wine and seltzer. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.