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Tsoureki French Toast Casserole. Photo by Joanna Lopez, via Unsplash
Breakfast during the holidays is sometimes an afterthought, but make-ahead recipes featuring Greek flavors are a delicious option to enjoy this time of year.
Tsoureki French Toast Casserole
Unsalted butter for greasing the baking dish
1 1/2 cups cherry jam
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
3 1/2 cups milk
6 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds
Greek honey or maple syrup for drizzling on top
Grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish or baking pan with the butter and set aside. Slice the tsoureki into 1-inch-thick slices, if there is an odd number of slices, cut one in half. Spread the jam on half of the tsoureki slices. Spread the cream cheese on the other half and press the slices together to form sandwiches. Cut the tsoureki sandwiches into 1-inch squares, and place in the prepared baking dish. Top with the raisins, if using. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until combined. Pour the milk and eggs mixture evenly over the tsoureki in the dish. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours up to overnight. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from the dish, and top with the sliced almonds. Bake until puffed and golden brown and the custard is set. The center of the tsoureki casserole should be firm to the touch, about 1 hour 10 minutes. If the top seems to be browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil. Remove the baked tsoureki casserole from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before serving with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
Savory Scrambled Egg Pies with Feta
8 eggs, divided
2 tablespoons butter, or Greek extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup crumbled feta, Dodoni
4 tablespoons sliced scallions
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (9-inch) pie crusts, homemade or store-bought
All-purpose flour for dusting
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, whisk 6 of the eggs together until frothy. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat Pour the eggs into the pan and let them cook until the edges start to set, about 30 seconds. Then gently move them around in the pan with a spatula, pulling the egg from the edges of the pan toward the center. The more you move the liquid around, the smaller the resulting curds will be. Cook the eggs for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat while the eggs are still glistening and look wet but are not runny. Stir in the cream cheese, feta, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly while rolling out the piecrust dough.
On a floured surface, roll out each of the pie crusts to roughly 12 inches square. Cut each of the rolled out pie crusts into 12 rectangles about 3 by 4 inches in size using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife, re-rolling and cutting the trimmings of dough as needed. Arrange six of the rectangles on each of the baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining two eggs and the water.
Top each rectangle on the baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the egg filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Brush along the border with the egg wash, saving the remaining egg wash for brushing the top. Then place the remaining rectangles over the egg filling for each pie, stretching the dough slightly to fit, if needed. Press the edges of the rectangles together to enclose the filling and seal, by pressing with a fork all around the edge.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Brush the surface of each pie with the remaining egg wash and prick a few holes in the top with a toothpick or skewer. Bake until the pies are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm or cool completely, wrap individually in parchment paper, and place in freezer bag to refrigerate or freeze. Defrost the pies and reheat for a few minutes in a 375-degree oven until warmed through for a breakfast on the go.
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