New Year’s Brunch Worth Celebrating
Begin the new year with family, friends, and good food. Throwing a casual brunch is a great way to celebrate the fresh start without sacrificing a restful night’s sleep.
Fantastic First Bites
Sometimes keeping it simple is the way to warm the heart. Hosting a casual open house with pastries, coffee and mimosas is highly enjoyable for guests and no-fuss for you. For a meal of slightly more substance, consider making bialys with savory gravlax or a quiche with a delicious combo of flaky crust and egg and cheese.
A mimosa bar makes a great complement to your brunch menu. To avoid too much sweetness, use a dry sparkling wine like cava or prosecco. Pair it with a variety of fresh fruit juices like orange, pomegranate, or grapefruit to suit all tastes.
Savory Bialys and Gravlax
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 small onion, diced small
½ tsp minced rosemary
1/8 cup fresh bread crumbs
½ tbsp poppy seeds
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
2 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp instant yeast
1 ½ cups water
How to make it
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Knead gently to incorporate all the flour. The dough should be a little sticky; add a bit of flour if too sticky, or a bit of water if it’s too dry.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for at least twelve hours. (See Chef Notes for same-day preparation.) After dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 or 9 equal pieces.
Lightly flour your hands and shape each portion into a ball. Cover all with plastic wrap and let rest for 45 minutes.
If using a baking stone, place in oven and preheat to 450 degrees. If using different bakeware, preheat to 500 degrees.
Heat oil over medium heat; add onion and sauté until translucent. Season with a bit of salt and continue to cook until onion is slightly brown – be careful not to burn. Add rosemary, bread crumbs, and poppy seeds to the pan and stir to combine. Set aside.
Shape bialys into 5-inch rounds. Use your fingers to make a depression in the center of each, gently flattening the middle out while keeping the rim full. Place shaped bialys on your baking stone or sheet.
Brush each bialy lightly with water, then spoon filling into the center. Bake for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned, rotating pan halfway through. Cool on wire rack.
Best served immediately: slice and top with cream cheese, gravlax or smoked salmon, capers, chives, and a squeeze of lemon.
Chef notes: For same-day preparation, increase the yeast to 2 teaspoons and decrease the water to 2¾ cups. Knead the dough by hand or in a stand mixer until smooth and elastic. Let rise for two hours, then proceed with the remaining steps.
Extra bialys can be frozen in airtight plastic. To defrost, toast in the oven at 450 degrees.
Roasted Tomato Quiche
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 to 4 tbsp ice water, as needed
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1⁄4 tsp. table salt
1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 or 4 large Roma tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
1-1⁄2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
How to make it
Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs with some larger chunks of butter.
Slowly add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist, but not wet.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to overnight.
Roll out pie dough and fit into a 9" fluted pie plate or tart pan. Crimp edges and refrigerate until ready to be filled.
Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, using a wire whisk, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually whisk in the milk until well combined. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Layer the tomatoes and cheese in the chilled quiche crust. Pour the egg mixture into the crust, filling nearly to the top.
Bake until the top of the crust is golden brown, the filling is set, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.