Christmas Brunch Menu

Wrappings and ribbons are scattered on the floor, presents have been passed around and all the excitement has ramped up appetites. Extend the celebration of Jesus’ birth with a delicious brunch no one will forget.

Add on a new tradition or continue an old one by celebrating Christ’s birth with an impressive brunch. Serve the foods on favorite dishware and linens surrounded by festive decorations, greenery and other seasonal touches. Planning, plus a few smart shortcuts, keep this impressive Christmas brunch easily doable for a stress-free gathering that keeps the focus on Christ.

Winter Fruit Salad

A citrusy, honeyed vinaigrette brings out the brilliant flavor and color of this fruit-and-greens salad. Watercress and mint give it a fresh lift. Arranged on a large white platter, it’s a feast for the eyes and a delicious accompaniment to savory dishes.

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  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp refrigerated ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp coarse-ground pink peppercorns, plus additional for serving
  • -
  • 1 cup lightly packed watercress
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 4 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and cut in matchsticks
  • 1 Asian pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • Coarse kosher salt, for serving
  • For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, ginger paste, honey, orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, and ½ teaspoon coarse-ground pink peppercorns until well combined.
  • For salad, in a large bowl, combine watercress and mint. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons dressing; gently toss to coat. Add mandarins, kiwi, grapefruit, blood orange, apple, pear, pomegranate arils, blueberries and blackberries. Toss to combine.
  • To serve, arrange salad on a large serving platter. Serve with remaining dressing. Season to taste with salt and additional coarse-ground pink peppercorns, if desired.
Cranberry-and-Orange Glazed Ham

Fruit enlivens ham’s deep salty and rich flavor, as do maple syrup, brown sugar and warm sweet spices, such as cinnamon and cloves. Tip: Make the glaze up to three days in advance and refrigerate it until Christmas morning.

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  • 1 (8- to 9-lb.) unglazed fully cooked bone-in ham
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice, divided
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ cup whole cloves
  • 1 ½ cups sweet orange marmalade
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp grated gingerroot
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries, thawed
  • Orange wedges, for garnish
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a shallow roasting pan with foil; place wire rack in pan.
  • Using a sharp knife, score ham by making diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern, about ¼ inch deep. Score only the skin and fat; do not score the meat. Place ham, cut side down, on rack in prepared pan.
  • Add 1 cup orange juice, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves to roasting pan. Cover pan with foil; roast for 50 minutes. Remove ham from oven; increase oven temperature to 400°F.
  • Meanwhile for glaze, in a medium saucepan, stir together marmalade, remaining 1 cup orange juice, brown sugar, maple syrup and gingerroot until combined; stir in cranberries. Gently simmer, uncovered, over low to medium-low heat for 35 to 40 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat.
  • Uncover ham; brush 1 cup glaze over the ham. Return ham to the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until glaze is caramelized and bubbly and ham reaches 140°F. Remove ham from oven; loosely cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • To serve, place ham on a serving platter and brush ham with ½ cup glaze. Garnish with orange wedges and herbs, if desired. Serve with remaining glaze.
Swiss Chard Quiche

Chard is delicious in egg dishes. Its earthy-sweet flavor is a bit lighter than other thick-stemmed greens, such as kale or collard greens.

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  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut up
  • 5 to 7 tablespoons cold water
  • -
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups thinly cut, slightly chopped Swiss chard leaves
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
  • ½ cup shredded Gouda cheese, divided
  • For the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over the flour mixture; toss with a fork. Repeat with remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Gather flour mixture and gently press together to form a ball.
  • Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll dough from center to edge into a 13-inch round. If necessary, lightly sprinkle parchment with flour to prevent sticking.
  • Fold pastry round into fourths and place in a 10¼-inch fluted quiche pan with 1-inch sides and a removable bottom. Unfold pastry and ease pastry into pan without stretching; press into fluted sides of pan and trim top edge even with pan. Freeze pastry crust for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line pastry with heavy foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 6 minutes more or until pastry is set but not brown. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. (Pastry shell should still be hot when you add the filling.)
  • While pastry is baking, prepare filling. In a large skillet, melt butter; add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Add Swiss chard; cook over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender but not brown. Cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together beaten eggs, whipping cream, 1 Tbsp. thyme, salt and white pepper until combined. Stir in Swiss chard mixture and ¼ cup each of the Fontina and Gouda cheeses.
  • Place the hot quiche pan with baked pastry shell in a large rimmed baking pan. Carefully pour egg mixture into shell. If necessary, using a fork, separate and evenly spread vegetables in egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup each of Fontina and Gouda cheeses. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Transfer quiche to a wire cooling rack. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional thyme, if desired.
Au Gratin Potato Stacks

Fresh sage and thyme infuse the sauce before it’s poured over thinly sliced red potatoes stacked in muffin tins. The stacks then get topped with Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses.

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  • 1 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 4 to 5 medium red potatoes, cut into ¹⁄₈-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Crème fraîche, for serving
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin pan with 12 (2½-inch) muffin cups with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Place muffin pan in a large rimmed baking pan.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Stir in whipping cream, garlic, 4 sprigs thyme, sage, salt and white pepper. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until small bubbles form.
  • Add potato slices to hot cream mixture; stir to coat. Bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are slightly softened.
  • To assemble stacks, layer two or three potato slices in each prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle each with a small amount of Gruyère cheese. Continue layering potato slices and Gruyère cheese until muffin cups are full. Remove and discard thyme and sage sprigs from remaining cream mixture; pour cream mixture over potato stacks in muffin cups, filling muffin cups halfway. Top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover muffin pan with foil. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more or until golden brown. Let stand in muffin cups for 15 minutes. Remove potato stacks from muffin cups. Garnish with additional fresh thyme; serve with crème fraîche, if desired.
Apple Cider Fritters

Granny Smith apples and cinnamon combine in this yeasty deep-fried dessert drizzled with a vanilla glaze.

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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp quick-rise yeast
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup warm whole milk (120°F to 130°F)
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature; lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • -
  • Cold water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • -
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For dough, in a large mixing bowl, beat 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, salt and cinnamon with an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low until combined. Gradually beat in warm milk, butter and eggs until combined.
  • Beat on medium for 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Slowly beat in remaining 2 cups flour, ½ cup at a time, until combined. Continue beating for 6 to 8 minutes or until a soft dough ball forms.
  • Spray a large clean bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl; turn over to grease surface. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap or clean cloth towel. Let rise in warm place for 2 to 4 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, for filling, fill a medium bowl with cold water; stir in lemon juice. Peel, core and dice apples into ¼-inch pieces; place in lemon-water mixture.
  • Drain apples; discard lemon-water mixture. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add apples and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and salt; cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in vinegar; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a ½-inch-thick rectangle. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the apple mixture. Starting from a short edge, roll up rectangle jelly-roll-style to form a log.
  • Rotate dough log 90 degrees; roll into a ¾-inch-thick rectangle. Sprinkle with remaining one-third apple mixture; slightly press into dough. Starting from a short edge, roll up rectangle jelly-roll-style. Form the dough log into a coil shape; roll coil to 1½ -inch thickness.
  • Using a bench scraper or large sharp knife, cut the dough into twelve 2½-inch squares. Place the dough squares on prepared baking sheet; loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 to 60 minutes or until dough squares are almost double in size.
  • For glaze, in a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth; set aside. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper; place wire rack on top and set aside.
  • Heat oil to 350°F in a deep-fat fryer or Dutch oven. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for quantity of oil in deep-fat fryer. For Dutch oven, use at least 2 inches of oil.
  • To fry the fritters, use a fish spatula or slotted spoon to carefully lower 3 to 4 fritters at a time into the hot oil. Fritters will float. Fry on one side for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown; turn fritters over and fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain fritters on the wire rack on baking sheet. Repeat frying remaining fritters.
  • Drizzle hot fritters with glaze; let stand until glaze is slightly set. Drizzle with glaze again. Serve warm.
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