Obviously, the main point of Easter is brunch. Right? That’s what the big deal about Easter is? And what better way to celebrate the day Jesus drove all the rabbits out of Scotland than to cook some Gwyneth Paltrow brunch recipes!
I invited somewhere between four and fifteen friends to my place for Easter morning for a totally Gwyneth brunch, so I knew there could be no fucking this up. THE EYES OF THE WORLD WERE UPON ME. The brunch was scheduled at 1 (we tend to be a lazy group), but I had to get started at 8 am. What else would you expect from Gwyneth? As a result, I excused myself relatively early on Saturday night and set my alarm. Yes, this brunch was serious business.
After hitting snooze for roughly an hour on Easter morning, I roused myself and headed to our lovely local C-Town to get everything I needed. I planned to accomplish a whopping four recipes: Slow-Roasted Tomato, Basil & Smoked Mozzarella Frittata (kind of a cumbersome name, no?), Leek & Gruyere Frittata, Blythe’s Blueberry Muffins, and Blythe’s Savory Bread Pudding. Thankfully, everything I needed was available right on the corner. A rare one-store grocery trip for the Danny/Gwyneth Project! When it was most needed, too. Truly an Easter miracle. He has risen!
The first step was to slow-roast the tomatoes, which I’ve done before. The process takes at least three hours, which is why I was up so disgustingly early to prepare for a 1 pm brunch. In the meantime, I got to work on the bread pudding. First, I gutted a loaf of French bread and drizzled some olive oil over the chunks of bread. I stuck it all in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up the bread, and then let it cool. I then whisked four eggs and heavy cream to make a custard, mixing in some fresh thyme leaves and black pepper, which is kind of disgusting? Thyme in custard? Blythe Danner, what kind of madness is this?
Once the bread had cooled, I folded it into the bizarre custard and let it all sit in the fridge until it was time to bake. Easy! Albeit slightly weird and off-putting.
I don’t know what to make of this.
Next up: muffins! These were incredibly straightforward (although, fear not, Gwyneth has her own twist on these muffins, which use roughly 15 special kinds of flour; look forward to that when I get around to it in probably two years). I melted a stick of butter and whisked it with some eggs and milk (almond milk, naturally). In a second bowl I mixed flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and then stirred the dry ingredients into the wet ones, ultimately folding in a whole shitload of blueberries. Then it was just a matter of separating the batter into muffin tins and baking for roughly 25 minutes. GREAT. WONDERFUL. WE DID IT, GUYS!
As my friends neared (and several texted to drop out; such is the life of a person who lives in Brooklyn — if you invite eight people to an event at your apartment, roughly four will show up, even if it’s a FREE BRUNCH), I removed the bread pudding mix from the fridge, poured it into a pie pan, sprinkled cheddar cheese over the top, and stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes.
Savory bread pudding: proof Blythe Danner is a LUNATIC.
All that was left was to cook the frittatas. I put two frying pans on the stove. In one, I sauteed sliced shallots; in the other, sliced leeks. To each pan I poured a mixture of 6 eggs and almond milk. In the pan on the left (with the shallots), I dropped in my slow-roasted tomatoes, a lot of diced mozzarella, and torn fresh basil. It looked quite beautiful. In the pan on the right (with the leeks), I simply sprinkled gruyere cheese. It looked quite boring.
This was not my first attempt at a Gwyneth frittata, so I knew the routine: Wait roughly five minutes until the edges of the eggs have set, then put the skillet in the oven for EXACTLY 8 minutes, until set throughout. Aaaaaaaand that’s a frittata. Easy. Foolproof.
While I finished everything, my friends prepared a fruit salad and, obviously, a large amount of mimosas (I also made some hashbrowns, but those were store-bought and nothing special so let’s not even MENTION them again).
The verdict? The muffins were by far the favorites. They’re essentially butter, sugar, and blueberries, so obviously they would be awesome. Second-favorite then seemed to be the slow-roasted tomato frittata, which was surprisingly delicious, and definitely the best frittata in the book. The other frittata was pretty boring, and it probably wasn’t fair to compare it to the vastly superior tomato frittata. Sorry, other frittata. Better luck next time? (Hot sauce helped it taste better, as it tends to do.) And then there was the bread pudding, which was… odd. Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts, so I was curious to see what a savory bread pudding would be like. I guess it was okay? It kind of just tasted like cheesy bread. Which is fine, but not really a very exciting breakfast item. A RARE MISS, BLYTHE DANNER.
Anyway, we all got disgustingly full, vaguely day-drunk, and found ourselves unable to move or think for a good half hour after splitting what was originally intended to be a meal for nine people between five of us. And that’s the mark of a successful Easter brunch. WELCOME BACK JESUS, WE MISSED YOU!!!