Confession. My consistent attempts to “waste not, want not” often lead me to many an awkward morning, where I find myself sitting down to dinner before the sun has even had time to fully light up the sky. Dinner for breakfast is decidedly not a thing – but it is for me, bizarre though it may be. My kids wander through the dining room in their PJs and, little as they are, they usually give me a skeptical sideways glance or two when they see the spread that I have laid out before me. Coffee next to a casserole. Orange juice next to the previous night’s salmon or pasta or … roasted chicken. “That’s silly, Mommy!” Elle will say, giggling at the fact that her Mom isn’t having breakfast for breakfast but rather, the same foods that she had for dinner the night before. It is silly, I’ll admit.
The good news though, is that there is a trick to this practice of dinner for breakfast: you can top almost anything with a fried egg and bring it much, much closer to the breakfast side of things. It’s amazing, actually – the egg’ed disguise is incredibly effective. Last night’s roasted veggies? Put an egg on them and you’ve got a stunner of a breakfast hash, and there aren’t too many better ways to start the day, if you ask me. Have some pizza left over? Same thing – put an egg on it, et voila! Breakfast pizza. We all know that steak and eggs is a classic, as is the fried egg burger … and that salmon to which I just referred recently accompanied some chive cream cheese, thinly sliced red onion and a toasted bagel for a dinner-turned-breakfast that I’d like to think would rival anything at your favorite deli. So, thanks to the incredible edible egg, the awkwardness of my whole eating dinner for breakfast thing is greatly reduced. Thanks eggs! Or, thank you to the chickens … hard to say which came first.
But breakfast for dinner? That is another thing entirely – an institution, really. I remember getting so excited when my Mom or Dad would announce that we’d be forgoing the typically traditional and totally predictable dinner fare in favor of something more breakfasty. What is it exactly that makes the notion of having breakfast for dinner so fun, so exciting? Perhaps it’s the novelty of it all, as it is something different and therefore automatically comes with a built-in fun factor … like going out to eat at a restaurant or going over to eat at a friend’s house. Or, maybe it’s the fact that blueberry pancakes and crispy strips of bacon are more exciting than tuna noodle casserole. Whatever the reason may be, I think most of us can agree that breakfast for dinner is always a good idea. But if you do find yourself staring at a less than exciting dish of tuna noodle casserole at any point in the near future, might I suggest putting an egg on it? It works every. single. time. Even the lowly tuna casserole cannot escape its charms.
I recently introduced Elle and Easton to the idea of breakfast for dinner, and these delicious blackberry and fig morning rolls were the lead act. They’re easy to put together and also enjoyable in the way that only puffy, squishy homemade dough-making can be. You can swap out the blackberry-fig flavor combo for one that better suits. A mixture of brown sugar, granulated sugar, (about a cup of each, give or take) and a tablespoon of cinnamon would give you a classic cinnamon roll filling. Just be sure to spread some butter on the rolled out dough before you sprinkle it on. Orange marmalade with an extra sprinkling of fresh orange zest in the sour cream glaze is delicious as well. The possibilities are practically endless here …
Blackberry & Fig Jam Buns with Sour Cream Glaze RECIPE
*adapted from “Small Victories,” by Julia Turshen (her raspberry jam buns)
3/4 cup whole milk
2-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
3-1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup seedless blackberry jam
2/3 cup fig preserves (store-bought)
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until it is body temperature (you can also do this in the microwave). Transfer the milk to a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Let the mixture sit until the yeast has dissolved and looks a bit cloudy, about 5 minutes (looks for the bubbles that start to form on the surface – this is a good sign that it’s ready).
Crack one of the eggs into a small bowl and beat it. Add the beaten egg to the yeast-milk mixture, along with the flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You can add a bit more flour if needed, to get it to pull away. Or alternatively, more milk if it seems too dry.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a large ball. Knead the dough ball by pressing it with the heel of your hand and pushing it away from you, and then pulling it back, folding it back onto itself over and over again. Knead it until the surface is totally smooth and feels both solid and soft at the same time, about 5 minutes.
Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let it sit in the warmest spot in your kitchen until it has doubled in volume, about an hour.
Return the dough to the floured work surface and, using a floured rolling pin, roll it into a large rectangle that measures roughly 18″ X 12″. Combine the blackberry preserves and the fig jam together in a bowl and then spread the surface of the dough evenly with the jam mixture, leaving about a 1/2″ border. Now, starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough up tightly into a long (18″) log. Cut the log (or rope, if you don’t like the word log) into 12 slices.
I place my slices into a buttered or sprayed cast iron pan, but you can also place them onto a greased baking sheet (or you can use parchment paper). I like to squish them together a bit, keeping the jammy-spiraled sides facing up and facing all of the seams inward, to help them stay together while they bake. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise for one hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Crack the remaining egg into a small bowl and beat it with 1 tablespoon of water. Uncover the buns and brush them with this egg mixture, all over their tops. Bake the buns for 25 – 30 minutes, until they are lightly golden brown.
While the buns are in the oven (!!), whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Drizzle this over the hot buns when they come out of the oven and serve right away. They’re best straight outta the oven!