• 41°

Christmas Brunch

Christmas morning is a special time that calls for a special menu.

Today's recipes are perfect for everyone – including the cook. Most of them can be made ahead of time, ready to pop in the oven when the family gathers to open gifts.

The recipes include: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole, Panettoni French Toast, Cheese Strata, Sparkling Orange Sunrises, Pumpkin Pancakes, Fresh Apple Cake.

SAUSAGE AND EGG BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

12-oz. pkg. sausage, 10 eggs, lightly beaten, 3 c. milk, 2 tsp. dry mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 6 c. cubed bread, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 2 c. Cheddar, shredded, 1/2 c. green onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook sausage and drain well. In large bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt and stir well. Distribute half the bread evenly in greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with half the pepper, cheese, sausage and onions. Repeat layering, using remaining bread, pepper, cheese, sausage, and onions. P{our egg mixture over casserole. Bake uncovered for 60 minutes or until eggs are set (tent with foil if it browns too fast). This may be assembled up to 12 hours before baking and kept covered in refrigerator. Serves 6 to 8.

PANETTONI FRENCH TOAST

6 1-in. slices day old Panettoni, 6 lg. eggs, 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1-1/2 c. milk, 4 T. unsalted butter, 2 T. sugar, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar

Arrange bread slices in large roasting pan. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar in bowl. Pour over bread and let it stand for about 30 minutes, carefully turning it over with a large spatula half way through. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with sides) in a 400 degree oven. Tilt pan so the butter coats evenly. Carefully place bread on hot buttered pan, spacing it evenly. Bake 15 minutes. Turn each piece with a wide spatula. Bake until bread is puffed and evenly browned, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a platter, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup. Serves six.

Note: Panettoni, a sweet Italian bread studded with dried fruit, is sold in many stores around the Christmas holidays.

CHEESE STRATA

8 slices bread, with crusts removed, 1-3/4 c. milk, 3/4 tsp. salt, 10-oz. mild Cheddar, pepper, 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard

Spread both sides of bread with butter. Place four slices in a layer in greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Shred cheese. Sprinkle half of cheese evenly over bread. Cover with four remaining bread slices and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Pour over cheese and bread. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 60 to 787 minutes or until puffed and browned. Serves four.

SPARKLING ORANGE SUNRISES

1 qt. orange juice, 2 c. club soda, chilled, 2 T. orange liqueur, 2 T. grenadine syrup

In 2-quart pitcher stir all ingredients except ice. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 30 minutes. Add ice. Serves six to eight.

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

2 c. flour, 1-1/2 c. milk, 2 T. sugar, 1 c. canned pumpkin, 4 tsp. baking powder, 4 eggs, separated, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 c. butter, melted, 1 tsp. salt

Sift together all dry ingredients. Combine milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, and butter; stir into dry ingredients until just blended. Beat the egg whites until stiff; fold into the batter. Pour about 1/3 c. batter onto hot lightly greased griddle. Cook as regular pancakes. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Serves five.

FRESH APPLE COFFEE CAKE

1-1/2 c. whole wheat flour, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 c. oats, uncooked, 1/2 c. honey, 1/4 c. bran or wheat germ, 1/2 c. oil, 1 T. baking powder, 1/3 c. milk, 3/4 tsp. salt, 2 eggs, beaten, 1-1/2 c. apple, chopped, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/3 c. raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add honey, oil, milk and eggs; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apple and raisins. Pour into greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool; sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Cut into squares. Makes 9 squares.