March 2018 — The Breakfast Issue
One of the great things about having an outdoor kitchen is that you can prepare just about any meal while enjoying the outdoors. Cooking outdoors creates a sense of occasion, and one of our favorite occasions is the arrival of spring and warmer grilling weather.
This month we have created three delicious recipes to inspire your next breakfast menu: Brandied Bananas French Toast (think of it as a riff on Bananas Foster for breakfast), Smoky Bacon Mini Quiches and Sausage Breakfast Pizza. We hope you share our excitement for the spring season and look forward to more memories made while cooking outdoors.
Brandied Bananas French Toast
This indulgent dish was originally a creation I came up with to celebrate Mother’s Day, but it has made its way into my standard brunch repertoire since then. The moment we decided to do a newsletter issue all about breakfast, I knew I had to share this recipe.
Bananas are simmered in a glaze of brandy and maple syrup to make this French toast something truly special, while rich brioche makes it even more decadent. The dish is finished off with a dollop of crème fraiche and caramelized pecans.
We used our new Plancha cooking surface to griddle the French toast while also baking it with indirect heat on the Hybrid Fire Grill. If you don’t have our new surface or its predecessor, you can use a cast iron griddle right on top of your grill grates.
- 2 cups brandy
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 bananas, sliced
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
- 2 loaves brioche bread, about 1 pound each, sliced 1 1/2-inch thick
- About 6 ounces crème fraiche
- About 6 ounces caramelized pecans
Prepare the grill for using a griddle with indirect heat with an air temperature between 350 and 400°F. For the Kalamazoo K750 Hybrid Fire Grill, we set the left and right Dragon Burners on MEDIUM, while the center burner remains OFF. Place the griddle or Plancha Surface over the center burner and preheat with the hood closed.
Combine the brandy and maple syrup in a large pan and simmer over a cooktop burner on LOW heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, to thicken for about 20 to 30 minutes. Keep a close watch to avoid turning the mixture into caramel. After reducing the brandy, the thickness of the mixture should be similar to that of the maple syrup. Stir in the butter until melted and combined. Add the bananas. Keep simmering over the lowest heat possible while you prepare the French toast.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the heavy cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dip each slice of bread into the bowl, then place them on sheet pan(s). Transfer 6 slices (or however many fit) to the griddle or Plancha Surface and close the grill hood. The French toast will griddle and bake at the same time using this cooking method, which helps ensure the perfect French toast texture. Check the bottoms after a few minutes to make sure the heat isn’t too intense. If they are cooking nicely, continue cooking this way for about 20 minutes total time, flipping each slice once halfway through.
To serve, top the French toast with the brandied bananas, followed by a dollop of crème fraiche and sprinkling of caramelized pecans.
Smoky Bacon Mini Quiches
Quiche on a grill? Absolutely! One of the things we love about cooking on the Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill is the even heat consistency for baking and roasting. You can bake quiches, custards and even cakes without difficulty – and you have the opportunity to add flavor with wood or charcoal. Shallow cast iron muffin pans are perfect for baking these quiches.
For this recipe, we’ve also fired up the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet to make twice-smoked bacon. You can skip this process for convenience and/or a less smoky flavor.
- 8 slices smoked bacon
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Butter for greasing the muffin pan
- 4 pie crusts for 9-inch pies (we bought pre-made Pillsbury crusts from the refrigerated section at the market)
- 2 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Cast iron muffin pan for baking
For the twice-smoked bacon (optional), smoke the bacon at 300°F for 90 minutes. We did so using the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet. The end result should be fully-cooked and somewhat “stiffened” without being crispy. If not smoking the bacon, cook the bacon to similar doneness using whatever method desired. Chop the bacon and reserve.
Prepare the grill for baking with indirect heat with at 350°F. For the Kalamazoo K750 Hybrid Fire Grill, we set the left and right Dragon Burners on MEDIUM, while the center burner remains OFF for your indirect baking zone. Preheat the grill with the hood closed.
Beat together the eggs, cream and salt in a bowl.
Grease the inside of the cast iron muffin pans using the butter.
Cut the pie crust into smaller circles that are sized to fit the cups of your pans. Line the cups of the pans with the crusts, then place a little bacon, cheddar and green onion into each cup. Distribute the egg mixture evenly among all the crusts, then top with the grated parmesan.
Place the pans in the indirect zone, close the grill hood, and bake until the internal temperature of each quiche reaches 165°F, about 40 minutes baking time. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
Sausage Breakfast Pizza
There are many ways to use your pizza oven to cook a delicious breakfast, from perfectly baked biscuits, to caramelized cinnamon rolls. Breakfast pizza, of course, is a natural. This recipe combines hearty breakfast sausage links, hash browns and scrambled eggs, with the bright flavor of grape tomatoes and nutty, earthy Gruyere cheese. If you’re a fan of breakfast pizzas, we suggest you also try our Alpine Breakfast Pizza recipe.
- 1 10-ounce ball Artisan Fire Pizza Dough
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 2 eggs, scrambled (we add 1 tablespoon heavy cream when we beat the eggs), slightly undercooked
- 1/2 cup fully-cooked and browned hash browns, crumbled
- 1 thin slice of red onion
- 2 breakfast sausage links, cooked and sliced on the bias
- 8 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Flaky sea salt
Prepare the outdoor pizza oven or grill for cooking pizza.
Working on a lightly-floured surface (we use Caputo ’00 flour or semolina flour), gently form the dough with your hands into a 10 to 12-inch pizza.
Generously drizzle the crust with olive oil. Distribute the cheese evenly over the top. Add the eggs, hash browns, onion, sausage and tomatoes. Season with salt.
Place the pizza on a pizza peel and then transfer to the oven or grill. Cook until the cheese is melted and the crust is nicely browned.
Cooking in a hot pizza oven will take less than 3 minutes. Cooking in a conventional oven at 500⁰F or on a grill will require closer to 10 minutes.
Tips for cooking in the Artisan Fire Pizza Oven:
Pizzas with a lot of toppings like this one need a bit more time for the crust to cook through – especially in the center. Cook this pizza with the lower burner control set to LOW, and the upper burner control set to HIGH. After the bottom of the pizza has taken on a moderate amount of color cooking directly on the ceramic cooking deck, slide a pizza screen underneath to slow down the cooking from below, or simply hold it up off the surface using your banjo peel.