Making Scrumptious Brunch Dishes for Mother’s Day

In 2012, I wrote a book called Sunday Brunch that included a collection of recipes for that popular mid-morning meal. Whenever I am asked to pick a favorite recipe from this book (or any other, for that matter), I typically respond that I love them all! Many readers, however, make their favorites well known to me, and for this book, the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Sauce as well as the Gratin of Leeks Eggs, Bacon and St André Cheese were the recipes they liked best. So, with a Mother’s Day brunch in mind, I’ve included the directions for both.

Ricotta cheese gives the golden pancakes their rich, smooth texture, while a generous addition of lemon zest provides a light, citrus accent. The scrumptious blueberry sauce that accompanies these griddlecakes is easy to assemble, and can be prepared three days ahead and reheated at serving time. (By now, most of you who follow my blog must have figured out that I love lemon and blueberry combinations. See recipe for No Bake Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce here.)

The gratin can be assembled a day in advance, put in the fridge, and then popped into the oven. It is prepared with toasted French bread, sautéed leeks, crispy bacon, and bits of creamy St André cheese (you can substitute Brie), all topped with a savory mix of eggs and half-and-half.

My local markets had all the makings for these dishes this week. I hope yours do too and that you can honor the mom in your family with one of them this Sunday, May 10th. Stay safe and well, everyone.


Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Sauce

Blueberry Sauce
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries (defrosted and patted dry)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk or skim milk ricotta
1/2 cup whole or 2 % milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
Canola oil
Confectioner’s sugar, optional

1.For the Blueberry Sauce,: Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a heavy, medium saucepan and stir until blended. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the cornstarch dissolves. Then add the blueberries and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove and cover to keep warm. (Sauce can be made 3 days ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)

2.For the pancakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta, milk, sugar, and lemon zest until well blended. Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until well blended.

3, With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the whites until they are just firm. Gently stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

4.Heat a griddle or a large, heavy skillet set over medium to medium-low heat until hot. Brush the bottom of the pan with just enough oil to coat the surface. Working in batches, pour generous 1/4 cup measures of the batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on the top and pancakes are golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so pancakes do not burn. Remove to a warm platter, and cover loosely with foil. (Do not stack the pancakes or they will steam and become flabby.)  Repeat, adding more oil to the griddle until all the batter has been used.

5.Arrange 3 overlapping pancakes on each of 4 plates and drizzle with some warm blueberry sauce.  Makes 12 pancakes to serve 4

Adapted from Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books 2012)


Gratin of Eggs, Bacon, Leeks, and St André Cheese
Butter for greasing the baking dish
1 baguette, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter or a peasant or country loaf style bread
6 thick slices (about 6 ounces) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (about 4 leeks)
6 ounces St. André cheese or Brie, well chilled (see note)
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Two generous pinches cayenne pepper
1 to 2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley or chives

1.Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-13 inch baking dish or similar 3 quart baking dish generously with butter.

2.Cut enough 1/2-inch thick slices from the baguette to make a single layer in the baking dish. (You can also use a country style loaf of bread. Cut into 1/2 –inch thick slices and cut slices in half or in thirds). Save extra slices for another use. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and bake without turning until crisp and very lightly colored, 10 minutes.  Remove and arrange the slices in the baking dish.  

3. In a medium, heavy frying pan over medium heat, fry the bacon pieces until crisp and browned, 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.   

4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings and return the frying pan to medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until just softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the leeks and bacon over the bread slices in the baking dish.       

5.Cut the cheese with its rind into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter them over the leeks and bacon in the baking dish. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl to blend, then whisk in the half-and-half, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.  Let the gratin stand at least an hour, or cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. (If the dish has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking if you have time. It also can go directly from the refrigerator to the oven but may need a few extra minutes baking time.)       

6.Bake the gratin until the egg mixture is set, the top is golden, and the mixture is bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes (10 to 15 minutes longer if the dish went directly from the refrigerator to the oven).  Remove and let cool 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with minced parsley or chives and serve hot. Serves 6

Note: St. André cheese is a mild-flavored, rich triple cream French cheese with a white rind. It is available in many groceries and cheese stores.  If you are unable to find it, you can substitute Brie (if available a triple cream Brie). Be sure to remove any paper that might be covering the rind of either cheese.

Adapted from Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books 2012)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.