Brunch, bunnies & bellinis for Easter

Brunch Crêpes with Sausage and Orange Wheels - Courtesy Photo
Brunch Crêpes with Sausage and Orange Wheels
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

By Carol Dearth

Creating and hosting a memorable Easter brunch is a fabulous treat. Enjoying the process, planning and preparation as well as a delicious meal, coming together with friends and family sounds wonderful. And accomplishing it without having your hair on fire is quite do-able if you use a timeline (see sidebar at right).

For me, the key is doing whatever I can in advance, so that I don’t feel rushed at the last minute. My motto is: whatever you can make ahead — do it! And don't feel badly choosing purchased, prepared foods as another option, if necessary. But having fun is not an option — it is a requirement.

To complete your menu, you might add simple fruit skewers, which are more festive than a compote, and a lively brunch cocktail — Semifreddo Bellinis.

Brunch Crêpes with Sausage and Orange Wheels

Make crepes ahead and freeze.

Watch the video to guide you through the process of crepe making.

For crêpes:

  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • butter, for cooking

Combine all ingredients except butter in blender, process until smooth.

Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add ½ teaspoon of butter to coat the bottom. Using a ¼ cup dry measure, not quite full, scoop batter into hot pan, swirling the pan to evenly coat with batter.

When the crêpe is almost dry on the top and golden brown on the edges (about 1 minute), it is time to turn it, if you choose to do so. Use a small spatula to loosen the edge of the crêpe, then turn it over with the spatula or your fingers. Cook the crêpe on the second side, about 15 seconds longer, or until it is lightly browned underneath. If you do not want to turn the crepe, cook until the top is dry and no longer shiny. Once cooked, turn out onto a board to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the crêpes.

For sauce:

  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • dash of salt
  • 1 ½ c freshly squeezed orange juice
  • n 1/3 c orange liqueur or brandyfor sauce:

Combine first six ingredients in saucepan, over medium heat; cook until thick and bubbly. Add brandy.

To assemble:

  • 16 link sausages, cooked
  • 4 oranges, peeled, sliced into wheels

Fold crêpes in quarters, arrange in shallow baking dish with sausages. You may refrigerate at this point overnight. Just before baking, place orange wheels in with crepes. Cover with foil, heat at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Reheat sauce and pour over crêpes. Heat 10 minutes longer. Serve hot. Serves eight.

The entire dish may be kept warm in a 170°F oven for two hours.

Quick Orange Chive Biscuit Bunnies

A video shows how to shape the bunnies.

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
  • 2 cups biscuit mix (I like Bisquick brand)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or orange liqueur flour, for shaping
  • dried cranberries or currants, for eyes
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Measure biscuit mix into a large mixing bowl; stir in chives. Combine orange zest and sugar, mix well, then add to the biscuit mix. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk and orange liqueur or extract. Gently mix just until soft dough forms.

Dust counter lightly with flour. Turn dough out onto flour and pat into a square. Cut the square into nine squares. Gently roll each square in your hands to form an egg shape. Place on prepared sheet. Using scissors, cut ears and tail. Press cranberries or currants into dough for eyes. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with raw sugar if desired.

Bake 8-11 minutes, until golden brown.

Asparagus and White Cheddar Frittatta

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • ½ pound asparagus, trimmed, bias cut into 1 inch bits
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry Sherry
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated, about 1 ½ cups

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine eggs, milk, sherry and nutmeg, mix well; set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet with an oven-proof handle, melt butter over medium heat. Add asparagus, onions, salt and pepper. Cook until asparagus is bright green. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese. Place skillet on a baking sheet. Bake until the center 2 inches of the frittata jiggles slightly, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Slice; garnish with green onions.

Makes 8 servings.

About the author

Carol Dearth is a member of Certified Culinary Professionals, a designation from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Her  formal training includes a Master Chef program and pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu in London. She studied cuisine at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School in Bethesda, Md., and Everyday Gourmet School of Cooking. She is co-host of “KCTS Cooks,” the only  live cooking show produced in the United States, on Seattle’s PBS affiliate KCTS-9. Her book, “Cooking Class, a chef’s step-by-step guide to stress-free dinner parties that are simply elegant!” was selected by the North American Bookdealers Exchange as the 2003 cookbook of the year. She can be contacted at Sizzleworks, 14111 N.E. 24th St., Bellevue; 425-644-4285;

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