Laugh, Social Sundays

Social Sundays – Bacon & Leek Quiche Tart, Limoncello Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits, and Pecan Praline Brownies!

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This Social Sunday, it is Mother’s Day, so I thought I would create a special menu for all the Mom’s out there who really need to be pampered.  I’m not expecting Mom to make this meal, but the other thankful people who want to show her a little appreciation.  I’m posting these recipes a day early, so the cooks of the family, have time to shop and prepare this menu.

On Social Sundays, I like to prepare dessert first, so it can rest and sometimes chill in the refrigerator – these Pecan Praline Brownies are no exception.  Brownies tend to slice better and keep their shape if they are slightly cold. After slicing, you can keep them at room temperature.  I thought Pecan Praline Brownies would be a big hit with mom, because who doesn’t love an intense dose of chocolate on Mother’s Day?  The taste of these brownies, are a touch of New Orleans combined with chocolaty goodness.  The praline flavor is subtle, but you can definitely taste it — little squares of heaven.

Limoncello Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits are my fun twist on a layered treat.  I use Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, to mix in the yogurt and splash over the top of the fruit for a luscious addition on this special day.  Who knows you may like it so much that it becomes standard on your morning breakfast? Definitely use some pretty glassware to serve these parfaits, they deserve it.

Bacon & Leek Quiche is a brunch classic, except I bake mine in a tart-pan because I enjoy the thinner texture – better crust to egg ratio.  I pour the eggy custard into a whole-grain crust for an healthier kick and a slightly earthier taste.   The bacon and leeks add a nice richness to this decadent pie, and a subtle hint of garlic comes from the chives flecked throughout.

I hope you go Gaga over your mom this Sunday, and what better way to treat her special, than to prepare this Social Sundays menu, just for her.

Pecan Praline Brownies

Ingredients

Praline

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brownies

2 cups dark chocolate, chopped

12 tablespoons butter

6 large eggs

1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup granulated sugar

(Makes 24 Brownies)

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  To make the Praline – Toast the pecans on a sheet pan for 8 minutes, remove and cool.  In a saucepan over medium heat, add the dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and heavy cream.  Using a candy thermometer, cook until the temperature reaches 230 degrees, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the toasted pecans and cooked until it reaches 240 degrees, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla extract, stir until the temperature drops to 210 degrees, about 3 minutes.

2.  Pour the praline out onto a parchment lined sheet pan, let cool.  For the Brownies – In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and butter, heat on high for 1 minute, stir.  Heat for 45 more seconds and stir until smooth, let cool.

3.  In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the eggs, dark brown sugar and salt until frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, cocoa powder and granulated sugar and mix on low for 1 minute, until combined.  Chop the cooled pralines and add them, along with the cooled chocolate to the brownie batter.

4.  Remove the bowl from the stand and stir by hand until combined.  Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan greased and lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, do not over bake.

6.  Remove and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.  Chill for 1 hour before slicing.  Loosen around the perimeter with a knife and lift the brownies out of pan with parchment sides.  Cut Pecan Praline Brownies into 24 squares.  Enjoy!

Limoncello Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits

Ingredients

3 cups 2% Greek yogurt

1/2 pint blueberries

1/2 pint black berries

1 cup fresh pineapple, chunks

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup Limoncello, divided

(Makes 6 Parfaits)

To Prepare:

1. In two separate bowls, add the yogurt to one and the fruit to another.  Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and stir.  Pour 1/2 cup of Limoncello in each bowl and stir to combine the flavors.  Let the fruit sit for 10 minutes, to absorb the liqueur.  Spoon 1/4 fruit into each glass, followed by 1/4 cup of yogurt.  Repeat this step and chill in the refrigerator, until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Bacon & Leek Quiche Tart with Whole-Grain Crust

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, at most grocery stores

1 cup all purpose flour + more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter, diced

3 tablespoons shortening, cut-up

1/3 cup ice cold water

Filling

1 leek

1 tablespoon butter

6 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 slices bacon, cooked and cut-up into chunks

3 cups jack cheese, shredded – about 6 ounces (divided)

1/4 cup garlic chives or regular chives with 1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

(Serves 6-8)

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  To make the crust – In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine the flours and salt, mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and shortening, and mix again until coarse crumbs, about 1 minute.  Pour in the water, straining out any ice, while the mixture is running. The dough should begin to come together.  Remove the dough and wrap in plastic wrap, form into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2.  While the dough is chilling – In a saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add the leeks to the butter and saute for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream.  Add in leeks, bacon, 2 1/2 cups of cheese and 1/2 of the chives, stir to combine.

3.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic.  Dust the counter with flour and roll the crust out into a 13-inch circle.  Place the dough into a 10-inch tart pan, roll the rolling pin over the top to cut the edges and press the crust gently into the pan to adhere.

3.  Pour the filling ingredients into the crust and place on a sheet pan to bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheese and chives on the warm quiche.  Let cool for 20 minutes, slice and serve – Enjoy!

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