At Your Leisure: Simple, Sophisticated Brunch Recipes
Our weekend mantra: Easy does it — especially when entertaining. This inspired menu allows most of the prep work to be done in advance, leaving you free to tell the long version of that funny thing that happened the other day.
Because the main dish is both sweet and savory, all you’ll need to round out the meal is a crisp salad and a light yet festive dessert. (And maybe a cocktail, too.)
- Baked Stuffed French Toast
- Frisee Salad with Pistachios and Dijon Vinaigrette
- Cucumber-Infused Gin-and-Grapefruit Fizz
- Whipped Yogurt with Pineapple and Dried Fruit
Set up a coffee station with the brunch buffet. Your guests can have their java just the way they like it — and you’ll have one fewer task on your to-do list.
Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas
The Make-Ahead Plan
One Week Before
Shop for nonperishables and specialty items. (Give our favorite brunch boosters a try.)
Three Days Before
Shop for remaining ingredients. Make vinaigrette. Toast coconut (see below). Infuse gin; freeze large ice cubes.
One Day Before
Whisk yogurt. Chop pistachios and fruit. Stuff and soak French toast.
Just Before Guests Arrive
Bake French toast. Prepare salad. Make cocktails.
The Perfect Cut
It doesn’t matter whether the loaf you choose is Italian or French, as long as it’s wide and properly sliced. With a serrated bread knife, trim the ends, then cut the loaf into eight slices, each 1 1/2 inches thick.
Baked Stuffed French Toast
Unsalted butter, room temperature, for baking dish
1 14-inch loaf rustic bread, such as pane Pugliese, cut into 8 slices
8 thin slices ham, plus more for topping (optional)
8 ounces Gruyere, thinly sliced, plus more for topping (optional)
8 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Pure maple syrup, such as Noble
1. Butter bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Make a deep slit in each bread slice to create a pocket. Stuff each with 1 slice of ham, then divide cheese evenly among pockets.
2. Whisk together eggs and milk in a bowl until combined, and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into prepared baking dish. Add bread slices in a single layer, gently pressing into egg mixture, and let soak 15 minutes. Flip bread You can soak the bread in the egg mixture for just 30 minutes, but the French toast will be even more delicious if you let it sit overnight. and gently press again into egg mixture. Let soak 15 minutes. (If preparing the day before, refrigerate up to 12 hours, loosely covered, then let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.)
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top bread with remaining ham and cheese. Bake until egg mixture is set and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Turn oven to broil, with rack 4 to 6 inches from heat source. Broil until bread is toasted and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot with maple syrup.
A single large ice cube — made with a special ice cube tray — works best for fizzy cocktails. Smaller cubes melt faster and make the drink go flat quicker.
Cucumber-Infused Gin-and-Grapefruit Fizz
2 Persian cucumbers (or 1/2 English cucumber), thinly sliced into rounds, plus more slices for serving
12 ounces gin, such as Hendrick’s
8 large ice cubes, or regular ice cubes
3 12-ounce bottles grapefruit soda, such as Spindrift