When I was a child, Easter and Christmas mornings were special and always something we looked forward to. We called it a “Polish breakfast,” because we would have Kielbasa, homemade raisin bread, and coffee cakes. As the six of us grew up, got married and had children, our breakfast times (much to my parents’ disappointment) got later and later. Eventually we were getting together for our “breakfast” very late morning. The traditional “Polish” breakfast in our house changed to “brunch.”
My Irish husband never cared for Kielbasa, so we added ham for him. We decided to add eggs to the menu since it felt carnivorous just to have meat. We added French toast for the kids who didn’t like eggs or meat. Eggs turned into quiche, fruit was added to take the edge off of just having meat and eggs, and of course we had to have the makings for Mimosas on hand since orange juice seemed a little tame for a very late morning breakfast.
Holiday brunches at home are fun because it allows you to sleep in a bit (or have the children open presents), it isn’t formal, and people can take what they want without being overwhelmed by choices. The rest of the day is then free to rest up from the night before. Make it festive — holly berries in glass, red and green table cloths, freshly made coffee, sparkling champagne and orange juice and a colorful fresh fruit salad – strawberries, kiwi, or green honeydew or a mixture of all different colors. You can even have everyone bring dish and make it even easier for yourself. But if you decide to do this on your own, here is a nice-sized brunch menu that is good for this time of year:
– Fresh Fruit Salad
– Brunch Quiche
– Sweet Potato Muffins
– Coffee Bread
– Kielbasa in Apricot Preserves
– Boneless ham
Sweet Potato Muffins
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked mashed fresh sweet potatoes
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup veg oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Pre-heat oven to 350° F and grease mini-muffin tins. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, sour cream, oil, egg, cinnamon, and nutmeg, beat at medium speed until well blended, reduce speed and blend in flour, stir in nuts. Makes 18-24 mini muffins.
2/3 cup warmed milk
1/4 cup warmed water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 beaten egg
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast or quick-acting active dry yeast
If using a bread machine, place all ingredients in bread pan in order listed, select SWEET DOUGH cycle. If doing this by hand, mix all ingredients together, knead on a floured surface until well mixed and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form ball, place in greased large bowl, turning to grease top, cover, let rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch down dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, cover with bowl and let rest for 15 minutes. Prepare in bowls:
1 stick melted butter
3/4 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture
1 cup chopped walnuts
Make small balls by pinching off some dough, squeezing it in your hand so that a tiny inch sized ball pops up between your closed thumb and forefinger. Roll balls in the butter, then nuts, cinnamon/sugar and put them in layers into greased Bundt-type pan. Put the pan in a warm place, covered to raise again — about 45 minutes or until double the size. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until golden and bread sounds hollow when tapped with fingers.
1 premade frozen pie crust
1 tablespoon butter, softened
12 bacon slices
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup 4 cheese shredded mixture
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Roll out pastry and line a 9 inch pie plate. Spread softened butter on crust and chill well. Over medium heat, fry bacon slices until crisp and brown. Drain bacon on a paper towel and crumble. Pre-heat oven to 425° F. Spread crumbled bacon pieces in prepared piecrust. Whisk the eggs, cream, salt and nutmeg. Stir in the cheese. Pour egg mixture into the crust. Bake for 15 minutes; turn down oven temp to 325° F; bake for 35 minutes. Quiche is cooked when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Kielbasa in Apricot Preserves
1 bottle apricot preserves
Slice kielbasa diagonally about 1/4 inch thick and place in baking dish. Spoon apricot preserves onto the kielbasa so that it will float after heated. Bake in oven on low heat until hot and bubbly. When done, skim off excess fat. This can be done ahead of time and reheated in a microwave to warm up.
Coffee bread and muffins can be made ahead, frozen and warmed up on the special day.