Monday, August 29, 2016

Broccoli and Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid

Some of my favorite recipes tend to be accidental - recipes you put together because you need to clear your fridge and freezer, but then all of a sudden the most delicious creation emerges from your oven.

This...this is one of those recipes. A very happy, very tasty accident.

Here was the situation I found myself in this weekend. In addition to a grumbling stomach around 11 a.m. on Sunday, there was:

--One sheet of frozen puff pastry that was reaching it's prime hanging in the freezer
--Half a block of cream cheese that was close to it's last leg in the refrigerator
--Two big bags of chopped frozen broccoli
--A small nugget of parmesan cheese and half a ball of mozzarella in the cheese drawer

Individually, these aren't particularly bad situations to find oneself in. Combined, however, I started panicking. I didn't want to waste any of this food, so I knew I had to get creative.

And so goes the story of my Broccoli and Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid. This creamy. dreamy creation is perfect anytime of day. Having some girlfriends over for brunch? Need a quick, low maintenance dinner? Want to treat your family to a special Saturday breakfast? This recipe is just what you need for all these situations and more.

In reality, I should have foreseen the success this dish was going to be. Generally, anything wrapped in puff pastry will immediately have a gourmet touch. Then I went ahead and made a savory cream cheese base...who DOESN'T love warm, melty, rich cream cheese?! A couple of soft-scrambled eggs and chopped broccoli make this dish robust and fulfilling. Plus, you can customize this any way you want! Thinking about adding ham and cheddar cheese? Me too!

Did I mention that it's a showstopper? So gorgeous!

Here's what you need for Broccoli and Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid* (Print Recipe!)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed for about 15 minutes on the counter or 30 minutes in the fridge
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed slightly (be sure the pieces are no bigger than about 1/2 inch)
2 eggs, beaten
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
olive oil, to brush the pastry

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Place the puff pastry on the baking sheet and stretch the edges just slightly. If there are any tears near the creases of the pastry, pinch together the close them up.

Starting from the creases, cut 7 or 8 slits on either side of the center of the puff pastry. I like to cut them on a slightly upward diagonal. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mozzarella and parmesan. Season with a bit of black pepper. Spread the cheese mixture onto the center of the pastry. Sprinkle the broccoli on top of the cheese, pressing down gently to help it stick. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the eggs, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring continuously, until scrambled softly. Spread the eggs on top of the broccoli then braid the pastry. Start at one end by bringing one cut piece of the pastry across the filling and gently pinch it down onto the opposite side. Do the same on the other side and repeat with remaining cuts, being sure to pinch the ends tightly. Brush the top of the puff pastry with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the braid for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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