There’s not much better than brunch on a Saturday afternoon. A brunch that stretches into four or five hours, mostly due to a few bottles of prosecco, with enough pomegranate juice to fool yourself into thinking you’re being healthy. Week eleven of the little red chicken food experiment was designed around some Magnolia Bakery raspberry cream cheese breakfast buns. Two very dear friends came over for what was initially supposed to be afternoon tea and muffins, but at the end of the day, prosecco goes better with crepes and a cheesy potato bake.
I’ve experimented with potato bakes in the past. No set recipe really, just usually throw some potatoes and sausage to roast in the oven, coat everything with cheese, and serve with sour cream on the side. Can’t go wrong. Especially if you really want to fuel up for a Saturday, but not in that healthy low-fat oatmeal and fruit kind of way that you try to start the week with and never make it past Tuesday. More like a fuel up to soak up prosecco kind of way before you take a nap. If that’s what you’re going for, this is the recipe for you. Cut up whatever potatoes you have, leave skins on (you know, to be healthier) toss them in olive oil (again, with the health), a couple of slices of diced bacon (it is Saturday after all), salt and pepper and hot smoked paprika, or something a little more mellow if you like. A mild or a sweet paprika would be just as nice, but I’m addicted to the smoked stuff and it goes well with the bacon. Throw it all in a dish, bake in the oven for an hour and a half or so (I like potatoes all crispy and slow-roasted, but you could certainly do it faster if you like) on 375 F. Remove from oven, coat in grated cheese and return to oven until cheese is all melty and golden and looks like something that would make people fall off their treadmills if you walked into a gym with it.
Crepes! I love them. I love them so much. They are so easy to make and they make you feel like a person who really knows what they’re doing. You can make a huge pile and keep them warm in the oven wrapped in foil, plunk them down in front of your guests with a bunch of toppings, pick up your glass of pomegranate and prosecco and tell them to go crazy because you’re done for the day. I got this recipe from my mom years ago and have it scribbled down in a favourite cookbook of mine…it might be from The Joy of Cooking, but I could be wrong, so I hope I don’t end up in internet copyright prison or however that works. I suppose I should check that out one of these days. You don’t need a crepe maker, just a good non-stick frying pan lightly brushed in oil (I used whatever I had that wasn’t olive…I think it may have been peanut) in between each crepe. The pan should be hot, but not too hot. Don’t turn it up and run to the bathroom or anything. Always remember what your mother told you about hot oil and try not to burn your house down. Don’t be scared, it’s not that much oil, just, you know, be aware. Use a ladle to pour the batter into the pan, then lift the pan by the handle and do a sort of sideways circley motion with your wrist to spread the batter around until it’s a nice thin crepe shape in your pan. Do it relatively quickly after the batter hits the pan so it doesn’t cook before you can get your crepe shape. That explanation was totally scientific and excellent.
Sift: 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or grated lemon rind
Make a well with dry ingredients. Add liquid, combine swiftly with fork. Don’t over-mix.
There you have it. Cook til golden. They don’t take long at all. Pile them in foil on a plate and keep warm in the oven. They freeze real well. But you probably won’t have any left to freeze, especially if there’s a jar of nutella on the table. Nice with yogurt and a blueberry-partridgeberry compote, all rolled up and drizzled in maple syrup.
Pomegranate and prosecco, cheesy potato bake, nutella crepes. Time for dessert! These breakfast buns were, admittedly, a little sweet after the barrage of berries, chocolate and crepes, but we would have been ok after a lighter breakfast. I’m not kidding anyone really, they were amazing and we ate them like gulls. Perfect, fluffy, moist, sweet, cream-cheesy goodness. I’m not one for store bought jam, but I happened to have a bottle of raspberry in the fridge. In hindsight, the leftover partridgeberry compote would have been great swirled on top. In any case, I’ll be making these again and experimenting with a new jam (preferably homemade and made by nan) every time.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Breakfast Buns
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (one 8oz package) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour bun pans or large muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the bun pans or muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Drop 3 small dollops (about a teaspoonful each) of raspberry preserves onto the top of each bun and, using the tip of a sharp knife, swirl the preserves into the batter, forming a decorative pattern, Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the bun comes out clean. Allow the buns to cool for about 30 minutes before sprinkling with confectioner’s sugar and serving.
I wouldn’t say the preserves swirled so much as made a sticky mess that made me swear a little, but I suppose real homemade preserves don’t do that. I knew the end result would work out ok though, so I wasn’t too bothered. Forgot the confectioners’ sugar to garnish. No tragedy there really, I’d pretty much filled my sugar quota for the week with the chocolatey crepes. Waiting 30 minutes, an impossibility, obviously. Whoever made that rule up was on a diet. A second batch would have been nice. But we ate the rest of the batter. I’m not joking.
From the The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, Simon and Schuster, 2009