5 recipes to usher in spring brunch season







It’s been a complicated start to the year, at least in the kitchen. Unseasonably warm days had us firing up the grill, and the debut of tulips and tree buds surely meant that asparagus and early peas were imminent. Except it wasn’t even March.

Now that the seasons officially have changed (even if the temperatures feel otherwise), we officially are declaring it spring brunch season. It’s time to set aside the heavy egg bakes and bubbling, cheesy sides and embrace lighter fare.

Luckily, spring has brought a new crop of cookbooks, and we selected several with recipes to bring out the best in brunch, no matter the occasion. Herb-filled frittatas spring to life thanks to a special ingredient, and a potato tart gets a seasonal boost from green onions. A fruit-topped (and fruit-filled) sheet-pan pancake will feed a hungry crowd, no flipping necessary, and scrambled egg “sundaes” put a fun spin on a breakfast basic. A bonus recipe for crumble-topped muffins is studded with the fruit of your choice — and they’re vegan, too.

Just add the sides of your choice — ham, pork loin, lamb, vegetables, fruit, salads — and good company, and you have a recipe for success. But since there’s still a chill in the air, maybe keep one of the bubbling, cheesy sides, too.

Serves: 2.

Remember that eggs keep on cooking for a little while once they’re removed from the pan, so slightly under rather than over-scramble them, for the perfect set. Recipe can be easily multiplied. From “Champneys: The Cookbook,” written to mark 100 years of the U.K.’s Champneys luxury spas (Aster, 2024).

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. chopped chives
  • 1 tsp. chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped red onion
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp. low-fat milk

½

  • tsp. melted butter, cooled
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 tsp. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Remove the avocado flesh (a teaspoon is the easiest way to do this). Sprinkle some of the lemon juice over the avocado to stop browning and season with a little salt and pepper. Chop one half of the avocado into chunky pieces. Mash the other half in a bowl to a smoother consistency.

In a small bowl, mix the chives with the tomatoes, red onion, red pepper flakes, a little salt and pepper and a few more drops of lemon juice.

Put the eggs and egg whites into a bowl. Add the milk and butter plus a little salt and pepper and beat until well combined.

Heat a medium frying pan and mist it lightly with olive oil spray. Add the egg mixture and stir continuously for 2 to 4 minutes until you reach your desired scrambled egg consistency.

Spoon one-quarter of the tomato mixture into 2 tall glass tumblers. Top with one-quarter of the scrambled egg. Add most of the chunky avocado, then divide the remaining tomato mixture between the glasses. Top with the remaining scrambled egg, then the smooth avocado, spreading it out for a neat finish.

To serve, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top of the sundaes, and then add the remaining avocado and chopped cilantro.

Serves: 8.

Frittatas can be the centerpiece of a brunch — or a way to use up small bits kicking around in the fridge that need a career path, making it a solid choice for any occasion. The secret ingredient here is seltzer water. The bubbles give the frittata a bit of lightness and lift without the addition of lots of milk and cream. Eat it morning, noon, and night — it always satisfies. From “Big Bites: Wholesome, Comforting Recipes That Are Big on Flavor, Nourishment, and Fun,” by Kat Ashmore. (Rodale, 2024).

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 16 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 c. fresh spinach, firmly packed

¼

  • tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 large eggs

¼

  • c. milk

½

  • c. grated aged Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, Italian parsley and chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. plain seltzer water or club soda
  • Flaky sea salt for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the spinach with the salt, give it another stir, and cook until the spinach is just wilted before removing the mixture from the pan onto a plate.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk and beat lightly with a fork. Add the Cheddar, herbs, and pepper to taste, and the seltzer, and stir only once. You don’t want to disrupt the bubbles in the seltzer.

In the same skillet set over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

When hot, add the egg mixture and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom and sides until partially set, about 30 seconds. Add in the mushroom-spinach mixture, distributing it evenly in the frittata. Smooth the top with a spatula, then transfer to the oven to cook for 20 to 25 minutes until set.

Cool briefly in the pan before cutting into wedges and serving, topped with a sprinkling of flaky salt, if desired.

Serves: 6.

The green onions add a delicious sweetness to this tart. A little diced chorizo is delicious but optional — not more than 1/4 cup though, otherwise the flavor will overpower. You’ll need to start this recipe in advance to allow time to prepare the crust. From “Grow Cook Nourish” by Davina Allen (Kyle, 2024).

For the short crust pastry:

  • c. (150 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

¼

  • c. (4 tbsp.) butter
  • 1 egg

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 c. (110 g) green onions, finely chopped, both white and green parts
  • ¼ c. (50 g) chorizo, diced, optional
  • 4 to 6 small red new potatoes, cooked
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ¾ c. heavy cream or crème fraîche
  • 1 (4-oz.) pkg. plain chèvre
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the short crust pastry: Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Mix 2 tablespoons of water with the egg and add just enough to bind the pastry. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pastry from the fridge, then roll out on a well-floured work top until large enough to line an 8-inch tart pan, about 1/8 inch thick. Line with parchment paper and fill to the top with dried beans. Rest for 15 minutes then bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, brush the base with the remaining egg mixture and return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes. This seals the pastry and helps to avoid a “soggy bottom.”

Prepare the filling: Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and sweat with a good pinch of salt for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions are soft but not starting to color. Add the chorizo, if using.

Cut the cooked potatoes into thick slices or chunks. Whisk the eggs and most of the thyme leaves in a bowl, add the cream, onions and potatoes. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour into the crust.

Drop a few pieces of goat cheese into the tart, evenly spacing them out. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until just set in the center. Sprinkle the remaining thyme leaves over the top. Serve.

Serves: 6 to 8.

Everyone loves pancakes, but it’s not as fun for the designated pancake maker, who is turning out batch after batch until they run out of batter, then often are left with cold pancakes for themselves. If you’re having people over for brunch, you want to be hanging out with your guests — over coffee or mimosas — and not be stuck in the kitchen. Enter the mighty oven pancake. The resulting big pancake is fluffy, tender and crispy on the edges. And the best part is everyone gets their breakfast at the same time. From “Hot Sheet,” by Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine (Harvest, 2024).

  • 2 c. (250 g) all-purpose flour

½

  • c. (83 g) fine or medium-grind cornmeal
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, about 1

½

  • teaspoons
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

¾

  • tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for serving
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar or honey
  • 2

½

  • c. well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1

½

  • tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. blueberries, plus more for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving
  • Chopped strawberries, for serving
  • Sliced bananas, for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.

Add the butter to a half-sheet pan (13 by 18 inches) and place in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until it melts, smells nutty, and the solids brown. Gently tilt the pan around to ensure the butter is coating the bottom and sides of the pan and set aside on a heatproof surface.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and airy, about 1 minute. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Carefully pour the melted browned butter in the sheet pan into the buttermilk mixture. Set the sheet pan aside and wipe the corner you used for pouring. Whisk the buttermilk mixture to incorporate the butter.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, whisking gently just to combine; some lumps are fine. Place the empty sheet pan in the oven for 1 minute to heat, then remove and set on a heatproof surface. Transfer the batter to the hot sheet and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the batter. Evenly sprinkle the blueberries over the top of the pancake.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through and light golden brown. Remove from the oven, cut into individual pieces, and serve warm. Serve with maple syrup, strawberries, bananas or other toppings of choice.

Makes: 9 to 10 muffins.

Blueberry muffins are a brunch classic; these ones are unbelievably moist and keep really well. By reserving half the blueberries for the top, you will ensure that everyone gets some and it looks lovely. You can substitute raspberries or blackberries if you prefer. If you don’t have superfine sugar, regular granulated sugar can be used. This recipe must be made in advance. From “Mildreds Vegan” by Daniel Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman (Hamlyn, 2024).

For the muffins:

1 lb. peeled and cored Granny Smith apples, cut into (1¼

  • -in.) chunks
  • 6 tbsp. (75 g) superfine sugar for baking the apples, plus

²/³

  • c. (160 g) for the muffin mixture

½

  • c. (75 g) dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

¾

  • stick (80 g) vegan margarine
  • 2 c. (250 g) self-rising flour
  • 2

½

  • tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. (100 g) blueberries

For the crumble topping:

1/3

  • c. (35 g) self-rising flour

¼

  • c. (25 g) rolled oats

1/8

  • c. (30 g) demerara sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. (25 g) vegan margarine, chilled
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. In a medium bowl, toss the prepared apples in the superfine sugar, then spread out on the lined tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until soft to the touch. Remove from the oven, transfer the apples to a bowl and leave to cool slightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Line 9 to 10 cups in a muffin pan with muffin cups.

For the crumble top, in a medium bowl mix together flour, oats, sugar, vegan margarine and salt, then pinch the mixture between your fingers until it has a crumb consistency.

Drain the apricots, then add to a food processor with the apples and lemon zest and pulse until you have a chunky purée. Or, mash the apples with a potato masher, then finely chop the drained apricots and mix into the mashed apple with the lemon zest.

Cream the margarine and remaining 2/3 cup of sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand with a wooden spoon in a large bowl, until pale and fluffy. Beat in the apple mixture.

Mix the flour and baking powder together, then fold into the muffin mixture, followed by half the blueberries.

Using 2 tablespoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, fill the muffin cups to about ½ inch from the top. Scatter with the remaining blueberries (about 3 each) and the crumble top.

Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes until they spring back to the touch. Leave to cool in the tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling, or serve warm. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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