Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 26: Scrambled Eggs in Puff Pastry

I think brunch is an underused social occasion. Most people like to go out for brunch; I like to invite people over. It's a great excuse to sit around in the dining room for hours, lingering over coffee. Nobody's got to hurry home because they've got to be at work the next morning, nobody's got to get the kids to bed. When we live in a house that can accommodate more than just the three of us space-wise, I pledge to invite people over for brunch more often.

Besides, brunch food is great. In college, my friend Ryan invited me home to Western New York with him for Fall Break one year, and his mother made a potato casserole that was just All it was, was thawed frozen country-style hashbrowns mixed with sour cream and cheddar cheese and baked. I love to make it with turkey sausage, browned and mixed in. I occasionally make a breakfast strata with spinach and bacon--it involves making it ahead of time and refrigerating overnight, and it's like a savory bread pudding. Delicious.

This dish, the scrambled eggs in puff pastry, is worth having people over for, but it's easy enough to just make for people who already live in your house with you. It takes a little time and effort, but it's worth doing. Let the puff pastry thaw on the counter while you prepare the other ingredients. It'll save you a little time at least. Serves 4-6.

Scrambled Eggs in Puff Pastry

7 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 9x9 1/2-inch sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
Flour for dusting
6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
8 ounces sliced ham

Whisk 6 of the eggs together with the salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the pan evenly. Add the eggs and cook while gently pushing, lifting, and folding them from one side of the pan to the other until they are nicely clumped, shiny, and wet, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a large plate and refrigerate until cool, about fifteen minutes.

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and smooth out the creases. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush a thin layer over the pastry. Divide the chilled scrambled eggs, cheese, and ham into two equal portions. Arrange one portion of the scrambled eggs, cheese, and ham over th bottom half of the pastry, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the edges. Fold the top half of the pastry over the filling and press down with a fork to seal the edges. Repeat this process with the remaining puff pastry sheet, eggs, cheese, and ham. Transfer both pastries to a rimmed baking sheet, wrap lightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the pastries from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before cutting into individual portions.

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