Brunch has been having a serious moment lately. While there's nothing better than rolling out of bed on the weekends and showing up to your favorite restaurant at noon to leisurely sip on mimosas, hosting a brunch for a group can be majorly stressful.
Just this past weekend our catering company hosted brunch for 700 of our closest friends at the 2016 Red Hills International Horse Trials. That's right, 700 people, in a tent, no kitchen, and had them all fed by 11am. The key to catering large events like this is planning, planning, and more planning. With Easter coming up, we thought this was the perfect time to share some industry tips that will help you pull off a perfect Sunday brunch.
Here's what we served up this past weekend and why we chose it.
Mini Muffins & Breakfast Breads with Signature Maple Bourbon Butter
We love to bake from scratch, but baked goods have a VERY limited shelf life and when you have to be totally done with your cooking by mid-morning, sometimes it's just not the best use of your time. We mixed in some delicious purchased mini muffins with some baked breakfast breads to cut down on our oven time. Then we whipped up our signature maple bourbon butter to add a homemade touch to our prepared items.
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Easy to prepare, and a breakfast staple. If you're planning to prep this the night before, opt for a fruit try instead of a mixed fruit salad so it doesn’t get soggy.
Spiral Cut Whole Ham Served with Mini Rolls, IPA Whole Grain Mustard, & Brown Sugar Dijon
This is another prepared item that cuts down on prep but is easy to make your own with some signature sauces and seasoning. We kept the glaze on the ham simple but packed the flavor into a duo of accompanying mustard sauces- a tangy IPA whole grain beer mustard and a sweet brown sugar Dijon. Serve with mini rolls so guests have the option of making a little Easter slider.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is that perfect lunch item that is still light enough to serve at an earlier morning brunch and it is so easy to make ahead of time. Cook your pasta and get your veggies chopped the night before. Pick sturdy vegetables like whole grape tomatoes, bell pepper, and carrot slices that won't get mushy overnight. The next morning all you have to do is toss it together with your dressing and a little feta cheese and you're ready to serve.
We love quiche because it's all your favorite breakfast items in one dish andit sounds fancier than calling it a casserole. For a large crowd, use a 9"x13" glass baking dish instead of a traditional pie plate. We still used pie crust on the bottom of our pan and pre-baked it, then added our fillings. We always opt for a meat and a vegetarian-friendly version so there's something for everyone. Once the filling sets, it's easy to cut it into squares for service. This can be another fully made-ahead item or you can bake your shell and mix your filling the night before, then assemble and bake it off in the morning while you're finishing up your other items.
Cream Puffs with Nutella Chocolate Ganache, Cheesecake Bars, &
Signature Mini Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Again, finding the balance between store-bought and homemade will make your morning run smooth. We jazzed up purchased cream puffs with a decadent Nutella chocolate ganache (that's fancy for "we microwaved some Nutella with some chocolate chips until they melted") and used a pre-made cheesecake filling that we perked up with some fresh lemon zest.
Everyone should have a signature recipe or two in their arsenal. You know, that one item that friends and family beg you to make when you get together. Ours happens to be Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies, and it's always a good use of your time to make that one from-scratch item that blows your guests away.