Ellen’s Best Prosciutto Brioche (very eggy dough)

Ellen’s Best Prosciutto Brioche (very eggy dough)
I always double this. They are good for a crowd and they taste good hot out of the oven. They are just as good cold for days after making. This looks and tastes like it is much harder to make than it actually is. Makes about four dozen rolls.
  • Pastry
  • 3½ cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 packages (¼ ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • Filling
  • Mascarpone
  • Fennel seeds
  • 1 pound of good prosciutto, diced into small pieces
  • Finely grated Gruyère
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1½ cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel, and salt.
  2. In a saucepan or microwave, melt butter in milk no more than 120–130º F. (So don’t do this on high in the microwave or it will get too hot and separate.) Add to dry ingredients and beat until moistened.
  3. Add eggs and beat, then add 1 cup of the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour but do not knead. Spoon dough into a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
  4. This will make a yellow gooey mess. Yes, it is supposed to look like this.
  5. Gently punch dough down, cover, and refrigerate overnight. If you need this today, just put it in the freezer uncovered for an hour (or, if you are really late, for just as long as you can) and then make a few (a dozen, or however many your cookie sheet can comfortably accommodate) from the harder dough on top—putting the rest back in the freezer while that batch bakes.
  6. Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface, unless you are using the freezer method—cut some from the dough and set the rest aside. If you are using the freezer method, just take your pieces from the hardest part of the top. Divide the dough into 16 equally sized small balls, maybe a teaspoon, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet that has been covered in fennel seeds.
  7. Using your fingers, press a good-sized dab of mascarpone into the dough. Sprinkle your dough top with the Gruyere cheese. Then add 5 or 6 pieces of diced prosciutto all over the top of the cheese.
  8. Next, gently pull a little of the stretchy dough from one side of the roll to the other. You can do this in a couple of places. It will look messy. Don’t worry; it will bake beautifully. You just want a little of the stretchy dough from one side touching the stretchy dough on the other.
  9. Sprinkle grated Gruyère all over the top. If it looks messy and there is some Gruyère on the sides and on the parchment paper, you will get those baked cheesy pieces hanging off the edges of your pastry. Don’t worry. Everybody loves these.
  10. Bake at 375ºF for a few minutes, until golden brown.


Yankee Deviled Eggs

Yankee Deviled Eggs
Real southerners (who abound in my friend circle, for some reason) don’t use sugar, and call my eggs Yankee with some real derision. But then, they eat every single one so I don’t worry much about what they say. And I am leaving out the boiling, peeling, slicing bits, as I know you know all of that already.
  • 1 dozen old eggs . . . at least a week old (Fresh eggs don’t peel worth a darn)
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons-ish mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Thoroughly mix egg yolks, scallions, sugar, mayo, mustard, and salt and pepper.
  2. Refill eggs and watch the crowd gobble ­’em up.
  3. (Add a little crisped pancetta for fancy bacon and eggs.)


Lovely Fluffy Quiche

Lovely Fluffy Quiche
  • For the crust
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • A
pinch of salt
  • ½ cup cold sweet butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
  • For the custard
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups cream
  • A pinch of salt
  • A bit of pepper
  • A grating of nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère
  • For the filling
  • Asparagus, broccoli, or whatever your heart desires
  1. Make the crust
  2. Combine flour and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, working quickly to keep the butter cold, until it is the size of small peas. (You can also use your KichenAid mixer for this.)
  4. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until you can gather it together in a ball. You might need more than 4 tablespoons of water, but use only just as much as you need to make the dough come together.
  5. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in wax paper, and allow to rest for an hour (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
  6. Bake the crust
  7. When you are ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  8. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and fit it into a pie pan. (You can use those tart pans with the removable bottoms but you don’t have to.) Line the dough with foil and fill with dried beans for weight.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. It should be ready now, but if you try to remove the foil and it sticks, leave it in the oven for a couple minutes more. Then, carefully remove the weights, prick the crust gently with a fork (to avoid air bubbles), and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Set it on a rack to rest for at least half an hour.
  10. Turn the heat down to 375°F. If you’re using a filling that doesn’t go in the custard, like asparagus, for just one luscious example, add that to the crust now.
  11. Make the custard
  12. Whisk the eggs, cream, and seasonings to combine, but don’t froth.
  13. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell. Top with grated cheese and bake for about half an hour (longer if there are other fillings), until the top is golden and puffy. It should quiver gently, barely set.
  14. Serve immediately, before the glorious puff of the custard gives a little sigh and begins to collapse.



They use a lot of eggs. And they have the side benefit of feeding many hungry teenagers and being delicious.
  • 8 eggs
  • 4½ cups milk
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ pound butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  1. Lightly mix all ingredients and pour into a hot pan that has been greased with a little butter. This makes about 16 crepes in an average omelet or crepe pan.
  2. Fill with Nutella for happy kids, and then roll them up and dust them with powdered sugar.
  3. Adults and discerning kids will like crepes with lemon squeezed all over them while they are cooking (both sides), and then again on the plate. Roll them and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with slices of lemon.
  4. Sometimes in summer when we have the most eggs I make savory crepes with ham, Gruyère, and tarragon. Use your imagination . . .