Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everybody!!

I hope you all have a fabulous easter filled with great friends, family, delicious food, good drinks, sweet desserts, and many laughs! Here is an Easter menu that I put together incase any of you need any last minute ideas! Have a great day!

xoxo - Alex

A Delightful Easter Brunch Menu


Fresh Strawberry Bellini


Brie en Croute


Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta
Scalloped Potatoes

Main Course

Fig-and-Orange-Glazed Ham


Sparkling Baby Cupcakes
Carrot Cake

Drink: Fresh Strawberry Bellini


  • 1 bottle prosecco*
  • 2 cups pureed and strained fresh strawberries
  • Special equipment: Blender, strainer, iced champagne flutes, pitcher and tall "swizzle stirrer" (for the pitcher)


Place 8 Champagne flutes in the freezer for 20 minutes. Open the prosecco and let it stand in an ice bucket for 5 minutes.
Into a pitcher, pour the 2 cups pureed strawberries. Gently pour in the bottle of prosecco and stir gently to combine. Divide among Champagne flutes and serve.

Appetizer: Brie en Croute


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (8-ounce) wheel Brie
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Crackers, for serving


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Defrost puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the walnuts in the butter until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir until walnuts are coated well. Place the walnut mixture on top of the Brie and sprinkle the brown sugar over the mixture. Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface. Place the brie in the center of the pastry. Gather up the edges of the brie, pressing around the brie and gather at the top. Gently squeeze together the excess dough and tie together with a piece of kitchen twine. Brush the beaten egg over top and side of Brie. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Side: Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shelled fresh English peas or thawed frozen peas (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. If using fresh English peas, add to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the snap peas and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes, then add the snow peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain the peas and plunge into the ice water to cool.
Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Add the flour to the drippings in the skillet and cook, whisking, until toasted, about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and cream and cook until reduced by one-third, about 6 minutes.
Drain the peas, shaking off the excess water, then add to the skillet (if using frozen peas, add them here). Cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the pancetta.

Side: Scalloped Potatoes


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese (about 2 ounces)


Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Generously brush a large skillet with butter, then rub with the garlic. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the potatoes, sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste, then arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the broth and milk over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg and bay leaves; simmer 3 minutes.
Generously brush a shallow baking dish with butter and slide the potatoes into the dish; arrange with a fork, if desired. (If your skillet is ovenproof, you can skip this step and bake the potatoes right in the skillet.)
Dot the potatoes with the cut-up butter and sprinkle with the gruyere. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Discard the bay leaves.

Side: Dill Biscuits with Honey Butter


For the Biscuits:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing

For the Honey Butter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pulse the flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse into pea-size pieces. Add the dill, then slowly pulse in the buttermilk until the dough just comes together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead three to five times. Shape into a disk.
Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or a glass. Reroll any scraps. Place on a baking sheet, brush with buttermilk and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the honey butter: Mix the butter, honey and sea salt in a bowl until smooth. Serve with the warm biscuits.

MAIN COURSE: Fig-and-Orange-Glazed Ham


1 spiral-sliced half ham
1 cup fig jam
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup of fresh orange juice


Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for baking the ham. Remove the ham from the oven about 30 minutes before the end of the warming time.

Meanwhile, combine jam, mustard, and orange zest and juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, just until the jam melts (do not boil). Spoon half of the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes.
Remoxe the ham from the oven and spoon remaining glaze on top. Transfer to a cutting board and carve. 

Sparkling Baby Cupcakes



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Prosecco or Champagne
  • Sanding sugar or tiny candies, for decorating
  • Equipment: 2 mini muffin tins, (to make 48 small cupcakes)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffin tin with mini cupcake liners.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electricmixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the butter and then the vanilla.
While mixing slowly, add half the dry ingredients, then add all themilk, and follow with the rest of the dry ingredients. Take care not to over mix the batter. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared tins (about 2 teaspoon batter per cup cake.)
Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack in the tin.


Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and Prosecco until smooth and sugar dissolves. (If cupcakes are not cool enough to ice, lay plastic film directly on top of the glaze to prevent it from drying out and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.) Dip the tops of each baby cake in the Prosecco glaze, sprinkle with sugar or top with tiny candies and return to the rack to set, about 25 minutes.
Cooks Note: This is a great way to use up leftover bubbly. This recipe works just as well with flat Prosecco. For a full wine flavor, prick the mini cupcakes with toothpicks when they are cooling; then drizzle with some Prosecco before icing with the glaze.

Dessert: Carrot Cake

  • Ingredients

    • Unsalted butter, for the pan
    • 12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
    • 12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
    • 2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
    • 3 large eggs
    • 6 ounces plain yogurt
    • 6 ounces vegetable oil
    • Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
    Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
    Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.
    In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.
    With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.
    Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

    Cream Cheese Frosting:

    8 ounces cream cheese
    2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups
    In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.
    Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
    Yield: approximately 2 cups

  • *Images and recipes via

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