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Do ahead sweet brunch dish & others for 'buffet'...help?

  • m

Okay...usually I do sit-down brunches, but considering a larger gathering,
and there are so very many dietary restrictions now...decided a brunch buffet
set-up makes most sense this time around.
Items on the buffet? 1) Leek/mushroom traditional quiche (maybe prep partially
day before) Tried it all last week on morning of another brunch (elsewhere)
and it was DELICIOUS. :-)
2) A crustless quiche of some sort for South Beach friend -
any fave recipes welcome! :-)
3) A vegan dish (yet to be determined...a bit stumped still, I think)
4) Now, I need a sweet dish, too! :-) Some sweet casserole thing?
Would love to be able to essentially make it the night prior to ease up the day of worries!

Please help. I love to make an Oven Puff (Dutch Baby) w/fresh fruit on top.
Is sort of spectacular to look at, but fear that won't work this time around.
That's when we do sit-down brunches. This will be sit-down, but not
where we serve others.

Anything comparable that could work as a substitute?
I guess there is do-ahead french toast casseroles or various types....
Any other ideas? Really hope to make this lovely!

Also, any idea or tip for where to secure something to keep my dishes hot with?
I have no chafing dishes...don't entertain that formally normally.
Any fave tool you have for keeping things warm, esp. outdoors?
Sigh...this is turning out to be pretty complex, in the end. :-\

Do you prefer a particular brand or type of maple syrup too?
Would love all ideas!! Thanks!

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  1. Oh....just wanted to clarify...
    not so stumped for vegan dish due to lack of ideas. This board supplied some
    wonderful ones! Just not sure how to make some of them, so they'd work
    on a buffet & stay warm. Guess I need to buy some warming plates, eh?
    Thanks again! :-)

    Right now, seeking out do-ahead (especially!) sweet brunch 'entrees'.

    1. 1. It's just brunch - shouldn't be too complex - from what it seems, everyone will enjoy! It is nice to accomodate friends with restrictions... but perhaps you can ask them to contribute and that way you'll know they can eat it. Frees up your mind a little.
      2. As for maple syrup - any kind of 100% maple syrup (I am hoping that you were not referring to any of that fake crap)
      3. The first thing I thought of was french toast casserole - by definition has to soak overnight, so it seems perfect. Or perhaps some kind of stuffed crepe (like blintzes) that can be made & rolled ahead of time.
      4. Vegan dish - perhaps a veggie sautee with tofu "sausage" (soysage??)

      1 Reply
      1. re: laurendlewis

        Exactly what laurendlewis said! Real maple syrup - I only use the Quebec stuff (though doesn't Quebec produce something like 80% of the world's supply...). Maple syrup would go really well with pain perdu (french toast), which you should be able to do ahead of time. I also like to serve pain perdu with a fresh fruit, creme anglasie and raspberry coulis - but that's maybe too finicky for a brunch buffet.

      2. Cinnamon rolls are easy to do the night before and pop in the oven in the morning. Baked oatmeal is also easy to do and tastes good. Mix it the night before and bake in the morning. I like to add some cream to it about 10-15 minutes before it's done.


        With the quiches, I wouldn't do another egg based dish like baked french toast.

        I haven't tried this idea to keep dishes warm but I use dried beans in a sock and microwave as a heating pad and it stays warm for a while. I'll bet you could put some in a pretty pillow case, microwave and then fold small to fit under the dish. Microwave 2-3 minutes because you can start a fire w/ overcooked beans, even after they come out (as I learned from personal experience). It sounds like you've got a good handle on it all--I'm sure it'll work out fine!

        1. You asked for sweet, well if anyone can find anything sweeter then this.......

          Donut Bread Pudding Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

          1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
          2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans fruit cocktail, with their juice
          2 eggs, beaten
          1 (9-ounce) box raisins
          Pinch salt
          1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
          24 donuts, cut into cubes (recommended: Krispy Kreme)
          Butter Rum Sauce, recipe follows

          Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
          In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for the donut cubes and Butter Rum Sauce. Add the donut cubes and toss until they have absorbed as much of the liquid as possible. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 1 hour. Serve with Butter Rum Sauce.

          Butter Rum Sauce:
          1 stick butter
          1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
          Dark rum
          In a saucepan, melt the butter and gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Add rum and heat until bubbly. Pour over each serving of Donut Bread Pudding.
          Recipe Summary
          Difficulty: Easy
          Prep Time: 10 minutes
          Cook Time: 1 hour
          Yield: about 12 servings
          User Rating:
          Episode#: IP0103

          2 Replies
          1. re: othervoice

            That sounds so gross for breakfast/brunch.... I would turn into a stick of butter right there!

            1. re: laurendlewis


              she asked for sweet......myself I'd rather have eggs and bacon, sausage or ham.

          2. and you really need some chocolate, and this one even has fruit!

            White Chocolate and Blueberry Bread Pudding with Amaretto Cream Sauce Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002

            2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted
            4 large eggs
            3 cups heavy cream
            1 cup milk
            1 cup packed light brown sugar
            1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
            1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            6 cups 1/2-inch cubes day-old bread
            6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
            1 cup fresh blueberries
            1/2 cup dried blueberries
            Amaretto Cream Sauce:
            1 tablespoon cornstarch
            1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
            1 1/2 cups heavy cream
            1/4 cup granulated sugar

            For the Bread Pudding: Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Butter a 10 by 14-inch baking dish with the softened butter. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add the bread, chocolate, blueberries, and dried blueberries and stir well, then mix in the melted butter. Let sit for 30 minutes so the bread will absorb the egg mixture.
            Pour into the prepared dish. Bake until firm when pressed in the center, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack until just warm, about 20 minutes.
            For the Amaretto Cream Sauce: In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the Amaretto and whisk until smooth.
            In a medium saucepan, scald cream over medium heat. Add the Amaretto slurry to the hot cream and whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, whisking for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Whisk until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before serving with the bread pudding.
            Serve warm.
            Recipe Summary
            Difficulty: Medium
            Prep Time: 20 minutes
            Inactive Prep Time: 50 minutes
            Cook Time: 1 hour
            Yield: 8 to 10 servings
            User Rating:
            Episode#: EM1F38

            1. This is one of my favorites. I use unseeded Italian or French Bread, but Challah or Brioche would rock too! You can also adjust your flavorings as desired.

              Creme Brulee French Toast

              Although the Diehls use large slices from a round loaf of bread and remove the crust, we also tried the recipe with a baguette, leaving the crust on, and found it just as delicious. At La Maison, challah is often the bread of choice.

              Makes 6 servings.

              1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
              1 cup packed brown sugar
              2 tablespoons corn syrup
              an 8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread
              5 large eggs
              1 1/2 cups half-and-half
              1 teaspoon vanilla
              1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
              1/4 teaspoon salt

              In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
              In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
              Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.
              Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
              Serve hot French toast immediately.
              Gourmet, July 1998
              You Asked For It; Inn at Sunrise Point, Camden, Maine

              8 Replies
              1. re: dbug31

                Wow! Thanks everyone!
                Gosh, that Donut Dish does sound more than a tad sweet. ;-)
                Interesting, to be sure. Hmmmm...
                and the french toast casseroles...but some think they are too close
                to quiches, I suppose w/all the eggs?

                Hmmm...would blintzes seem further away...I'm not sure. :-\
                Cinn. rolls would be yummy, but I have zero talent for yeast items.
                I wonder if the Blueberry Bread Pudding could be made a day ahead...

                lastly, I made a Blueberry Slump once...kinda like blueberry bread pudding but
                w/cream cheese. Got rave reviews, but again, it has eggs poured over,
                so I'm having a hard time finding something less egg-y .

                If I knew how to do crepes...
                actually I have a recipe for maple walnut crepes...
                anyone ever tried those pre-made crepes they have at Whole Foods?

                Just the crepe itself, I mean...not filled ones.
                Okay? A sad imitation? Thanks again!

                1. re: mtm

                  For something sweet how about just some fruit salad? It would be easy and everyone could have it. That and some croissants would go well with the quiche. So 80's--to jump on another thread.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Or maybe do an assorted bread basket of croissants, quick breads and/or muffins?

                    Serving the fruit with a sweet fruit dip made with cream cheese might be nice. If you search Fruit Tray with Fruit Dip at FoodTV, you'll find one by Paula Deen that I've made before - it's good.

                  2. re: mtm

                    Have never tried pre-made crepes. But my grandmother taught me the finesse of crepe-making - she claims that a precisely 8" pan is needed but it doesn't matter. Just let the batter rest overnight if possible before cooking and use your wrist to thin it out. (And clean your counter because that's the best place to flip them out and let them cool.)

                    1. re: laurendlewis

                      After reading Julie and Julia, with Julie's experience with crepes for a crowd, I'm not sure I'd want to try it for the first time with a party. It sounds hard!

                    2. re: mtm

                      Don't buy pre-made packaged crepes. If you want to make crepes without the worry of providing for a crowd, I'd make the actually crepes the day before.

                      Then, morning of, fill the crepes with a fruit conserve of some sort (cherries, peaches, apricots; or maybe just poached pears and a drizzle of chocolate). Roll them up and lay them side by side in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with a little sugar and lemon juice maybe, and pop them in the oven to warm.

                      If you want a recipe for the actual crepes, let me know (I don't have it on me right now)... it's super easy!

                      Also, the oven baked french toast won't resemble the quiche too much; there's not enough egg, and it's sweet, whereas the quiche is very savoury.

                      1. re: littlegreenpea

                        Agreed. I would do filled crepes and do it all ahead of time.

                        1. re: laurendlewis

                          That's true, you can probably not only make the crepes the day before, but fill them too, ready to be baked the morning of. If you do that, mtm, just be careful of putting too much liquid in as you don't want the crepes to get soggy overnight.

                  3. I have had that Creme Brulee French toast bookmarked forever. I am sure it would be great.

                    Here is what I was planning to make with it, sweet and spicy bacon:


                    As for maple syrup, I find the brand means less than the grade. High grade expensive maple syrup is not flavourful enough for me; I prefer the dark low grade stuff because of its more intense flavour. It can be too strong or have off-flavours though. Whatever your preference.


                    1. Paula Deen's French Toast Cassserole with Praline--

                      it is easy and wonderful!!!!!


                      1. what about some sort of gelatin mold as the sweet? can surely be made ahead of time. I did it once & totally went at the brunch. Also, could do a potato/home fries type dish- maybe with onions & peppers for vegan?
                        also, what about a yogurt & granola parfait?

                        1. I'm not sure how easy it will be to find...but there is a Martha Stewart recipe for poppy seed coffee cake that is beautiful and delicious. You cut the dough into ropes, twist the ropes into little balls, and lay them all in a bundt pan. You could easily make it ahead of time and reheat.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: danna

                            Lemon Raspberry French Toast Strata. I made this for Easter brunch and everyone loved it. It is more like a breadpudding than a Strata and if I made it again, I would probably augment the raspberries with some good quality raspberry preserves and might make it the night before because it is a bit runny otherwise but REALLY good.


                          2. a vegetable frittata, cheese and fresh fruit, crusty bread and crepes with a berry sauce.

                            1. For sweet I'm with the anti-eggy crowd given your other dishes (which sound yummy). Cinnamon rolls or quick breads/muffins (in one -- or more -- of a gazillion flavors) are easy to make ahead.

                              Or what about a fruit crisp (or cobbler, but I like crisps better). Rhubarb is in season around here and I just made one over the weekend. You can easily make it ahead and bake it the day of, and crisps taste great at room temperature.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Dizzied

                                Thanks so much, everyone!!
                                So many terrific ideas here..can't wait.

                                Now, I have to decide whether to gamble w/doing crepes first time ever...
                                would do day ahead if so. Not really sure how I'd fill 'em either...
                                with what precisely. But will ponder.

                                French toast recipes sounds delicious...
                                as do all the others...crisps, etc. Thank you, thank you!! :-)

                              2. I made this Strata for a friend's 50th, and everyone raved about it.

                                There is no reason to keep it hot, since it's delicious room temp.

                                Also, I bought the Ham at the deli section, and asked for it sliced thin, but diced it when I as making it. It was like soft petal pieces, rather than chunks of ham in the dish, much more delicate.

                                HAM AND CHEESE STRATA

                                1 loaf French bread, cubed (crusty long type)
                                1 lb. deli ham, sliced, and diced
                                1 lb. brick cheddar cheese, shredded
                                ½ c. grated parmesean cheese
                                3 green onions, chopped
                                15 medium eggs
                                2 egg yolks
                                4 cups half & half (or light cream)
                                2 tespoons Dijon mustard

                                Combine the bread, ham, cheddar and parmasean cheese, and green onion in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, half & half, and mustard in a medium bowl. Pour over bread mixture and stir until moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hrs. or overnight.

                                Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan, and place on a large cookie sheet. Pour strata mixture into center of springform, making sure it spreads pretty evenly. Bake for approximately 1-1&1/2 hrs. After it has been baking for 30-40 minutes, cover with foil, so top does not become overbrowned. Bake for approx. 1hr to 1&1/2 hrs. Check with a knife in the center, and it should not be loose. Let cool for twenty minutes, and cut around edges with knife to ensure it has separated from sides. Take off “spring”, and place on platter. Serves 10-12.

                                Serve warm or room temp.