The holiday’s breakfasts, brunches and afternoon meals afford lots of opportunities to try spring dishes that are new to you. Here are some of our favorites from the season’s crop of cookbooks.
Carrot Waffles With Coconut Cream
5 servings (makes 5 large Belgian-style waffles)
Think of these hearty holiday brunch waffles as a quicker delivery system for the flavors of carrot cake — minus the nuts and raisins. The coconut cream is surprisingly good. You’ll need a large Belgian-style waffle iron.
MAKE AHEAD: The coconut milk for the coconut cream needs to be refrigerated overnight. The coconut cream can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.
Adapted from “The Love & Lemons Cookbook,” by Jeanine Donofrio.
For coconut cream
2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1⁄3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
4 cups spelt flour (or a blend of white and whole-wheat flours)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups scrubbed, grated carrots (from 4 large carrots)
4 cups almond milk, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup liquefied coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
For the coconut cream: Scoop the chilled, thick/solidified portion from both cans of coconut milk into the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; reserve the remaining, watery coconut milk for another use. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until fluffy, then stop to add the confectioners’ sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract; beat just until incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. The yield is 2 cups.
For the waffles: Preheat waffle iron; preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place a baking sheet with a wire rack in it on the middle rack.
Whisk together the spelt flour, baking powder, flaxseed, cinnamon and a pinch of the sea salt in a mixing bowl.
Combine the carrots, almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup in a large liquid measuring cup, then pour that mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until there’s no trace of dry ingredients left.
Scoop about 11⁄3 cups of the batter onto the waffle iron and cook for 11 to 12 minutes or cooked through. Transfer to the oven while you repeat to use all the batter.
Serve warm, topped with the coconut cream and syrup.
Curry Onion Tart
8 to 10 servings
This eggy tart has flavors of Southern India. The smoked paprika in the crust gives the pastry a lovely reddish hue. You’ll need a 9-inch tart pan (at least 1 inch deep) with a removable bottom.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with your favorite chutney.
MAKE AHEAD: The baked tart can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Adapted from “The Cardamom Trail: Chetna Bakes With Flavors of the East,” by Chetna Makan.
21⁄3 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)
9 tablespoons plus 11⁄2 teaspoons chilled, salted butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seed
10-15 curry leaves
2-4 dried red chilies, seeded
4 small onions, thinly sliced (about 11⁄2 cups)
Handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream
For the crust: Lightly flour a work surface.
Whisk together the flour, salt and smoked paprika in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and toss to coat it well. Working quickly, use your fingertips to work the butter into the flour mixture until it’s the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
Combine the lemon juice and water in a liquid measuring cup; pour in just enough to bring the flour-butter mixture together into a dough. Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for a minute or so into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
Re-flour the work surface as needed. Unwrap the dough and roll it out to an 11-inch round that’s about 1⁄8-inch thick. Transfer to the tart pan and fit it in, allowing the excess dough to hang over the rim. Use a fork to prick the dough in several places, then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tart shell (in its pan) on a baking sheet. Line the tart shell with parchment paper, then fill with a good layer of dried beans or raw rice or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and weights; bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry looks crisp. Use a small, sharp knife to trim away any excess crust from the rim. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mustard seed, curry leaves (to taste) and dried chilies; the last can be left whole, or you can coarsely chop them. As soon as the mustard seed begins to pop, add the onions; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are just golden. Turn off the heat; stir in the cilantro and salt. Let cool for a few minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, egg yolk and cream in a large liquid measuring cup.
Spread the onion mixture evenly in the baked tart shell, then pour the egg-cream mixture over it. Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is set. Let cool (in the pan) for 10 minutes before serving.
(Sformatini di Broccolo Romanesco) Makes 8 servings.
These can star at the center or side of a spring holiday plate. Sformatini, or molded, soufflelike custards, are popular in Rome’s modern trattorias. (Romanesco cauliflower is also called Romanesco broccoli.) You’ll need eight 6-ounce ramekins.
MAKE AHEAD: The custards can be baked, cooled and refrigerated (in their ramekins) a day in advance. You may need to seat the ramekins in a low bowl of very hot water, briefly, and run a round-edged knife around the inside of each one to dislodge the chilled custards.
Adapted from “Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes From an Ancient City,” by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill.
1 pound Romanesco cauliflower (may substitute green cauliflower)
Vegetable oil, for the ramekins
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
4 large eggs
11⁄2 cups heavy cream
1⁄4 cup grated pecorino-Romano cheese
Core and trim the cauliflower and separate it into florets; you should have about 5 cups. Steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool, then coarsely chop (to yield about 3 cups).
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees. Use the vegetable oil to grease the insides of the ramekins. Line a roasting pan with a folded dish towel and arrange the ramekins on top of the towel.
Bring a large kettle of water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion; cook for about 8 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the cooked cauliflower and wine; cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender (with the center knob of its lid removed, so steam can escape). Puree until very smooth, for several minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl or blender jar.
Whisk together the eggs and cream in a large bowl and stir in the pecorino Romano, then pour in the blended caulflower mixture, stirring to incorporate. Divide the custard mixture among the ramekins, leaving about 1⁄4 inch of head space.
Pull the middle oven rack forward just enough to slide the roasting pan onto it, then carefully fill the pan with the just-boiled water so it comes no more than halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the custards are a bit jiggly in the center and a knife inserted into the center of them comes out clean.
Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the stove top (off the heat). Let it sit for 10 minutes, then use coated tongs to transfer the ramekins to a cutting board to cool further.
To serve (warm or at room temperature), invert and gently unmold each sformatino.