Feast and fun for Easter brunch entertaining
Food Network Magazine editor-in-chief Maile Carpenter gets a little mischievous this Easter since the holiday falls on the same day as one known for goofy pranks.
Q: Easter is coming Sunday, April 1. Any ideas for a festive brunch to celebrate?
MC: Yes, April Fools’ Day! This hasn’t happened since 1956 and it won’t happen again until 2029, so I definitely want to mark the occasion in some fun way. I’m not going to ruin a beautiful Easter feast with a bad prank, but I do plan to play a joke or two on my kids. One idea we included in the April issue is to unwrap a Cadbury egg and put the wrapper around a hard-boiled egg. A somewhat more fun, less upsetting April Fools’ nod: Make a vegetable platter for brunch that looks like a miniature garden. Spread a thick layer of hummus or other dip in a metal cake pan (you’ll need about 4 cups of dip), then cover the dip with ground pumpernickel crackers to look like dirt and push vegetables (broccoli florets, baby peppers, baby carrots) into the dip in rows, like a garden. If you’re opposed to acknowledging April Fools’ Day on Easter, which is understandable, you’ll get another chance to celebrate a crossover holiday next month: Derby Day falls on Cinco de Mayo.
Q: For Easter dinner, many of us still think of ham and lamb as the main events. What’s a new twist on tradition?
MC: For big family feasts, we try to think of ways to mix up the meal without abandoning tradition. Ham and lamb will always be the stars of Easter, so we aren’t going to suddenly suggest that people serve goose. That said, we’re able to have fun with Easter sides because the menu is less prescribed than other traditional feasts. At Thanksgiving we’re expected to serve mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce. At Easter, once we’ve crossed ham or lamb off the list, the options are endless. The chefs in our test kitchen developed recipes for 50 different spring sides for our April issue, so readers can mix and match their favorites and serve a completely new twist on their usual holiday meal.
Q: Baking bread for the holiday reminds me of my childhood, especially cinnamon bread. Where do your thoughts go for spring baking?
MC: I’m always so happy when spring finally arrives because the color comes back into my baking. I go through the fall and winter making so many desserts that are brown-on-brown: apple pies, chocolate cakes, gingerbread. They’re all great, but I love it when I can finally break out my piping bag and pastel food coloring and decorate Easter cookies, or help my mom make her annual Easter Bunny cake (he sits in a bed of green coconut grass surrounded by jelly beans). If you’re not a baker, you can just watch other people do it: Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship.”
Q: Easter desserts can run the gamut from coconut cake to my favorite, lemon meringue pie. What dessert says spring to you?
MC: I’ve always made carrot cake for Easter. We included an amazing recipe for a six-layer one from Trisha Yearwood in our April issue, and we also created some fun Easter treats that look like carrots. The easiest idea: Make chocolate-dipped strawberries that resemble carrots. Just melt 1½ cups orange candy melts with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil; dip the strawberries up to the stem and let cool, then serve on a bed of chocolate sprinkles.
Q: With Easter eggs filling up baskets and decorating tables, what do we do with all the leftover hard-boiled eggs?
M C: Deviled eggs! I know you’re probably wondering how many deviled eggs a person could possibly eat at one time, and the answer is: so many. In 2013, renowned champion eater Joey Chestnut consumed 141 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes. I know none of us could come close to this impressive feat, but if everyone in the family eats two or three deviled eggs as a nighttime snack, you can make good use of your leftovers. We included a mix-and-match deviled egg recipe in the April issue so you can create your own variations, like hummus-red pepper, crab-paprika or lemon-cucumber. Option B: Slice the hard-boiled eggs and serve them on top of avocado toast for br eakfast. Option C: I hear they’re great for dogs.