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An Island-Inspired Mother’s Day Brunch

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Give mom a day in paradise with this bright, sunny menu, featuring the flavors of lime, rum, chiles, and tropical fruits.

Whether you’re cooking with Mom or for Mom this Mother’s Day, this eclectic menu combines tropical favorites like passion fruit with brunch favorites such as frittatas, potatoes, and mimosas. These elevated recipes will show Mom and Grandma just how special they are. There’s no better way to show Mom how much you appreciate her than this brunch’s grand finale–a showstopping passion fruit tart that’s worthy of serving as a centerpiece.

In my family, cooking for holidays is a group affair. My sisters, mom, and I whisk around the kitchen, working in unison. Although we are all focused on the task at hand—executing a number of dishes—we spend just as much time talking and catching up with one another. Sometimes it gets loud—there’s often music playing and voices raised high over the loud hum of the stand mixer whirring. It’s always lively, and the casualness of cooking while focusing on a recipe allows us to easily pick up where we left off—even though we now live in different parts of the country.

There’s something really special about the legacy of recipes, skills, and stories passed down as sisters, mothers and daughters, aunts and cousins, and grandmothers all work in the kitchen preparing food together. One of those recipes—my grandmother Leona’s press-in tart crust—is featured in this passionfruit tart recipe (though I’ve updated it by adding crushed pistachios!). And as important as those family heirloom recipes are, we also love adding new recipes to our family canon.

These brunch recipes are packed with flavors inspired by the Caribbean, such as lime, rum, Scotch bonnet peppers, and passionfruit. Both the Chili-and-Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes and the Spicy Habanero Frittata are so easy and tasty, they are likely to become staples in your brunch rotation. The passionfruit tart helps reunite family members in the kitchen—a baking project in which you can divvy up the tasks, then come together to assemble a pretty special dessert.

A note about the passionfruit puree: The recipes for the tart and mimosa call for 100% passionfruit puree. I prefer the product from Les Vergers Boiron, but other brands are available on amazon.com. Alternatively, if you have access to fresh passionfruit, you can use the juice (not the seeds). For the passionfruit mimosa, it’s OK to substitute a passionfruit “blend” that isn’t 100% or has added sugar—just omit the simple syrup. For the tart, be sure to seek out the real thing.

Menu Timeline

One Day Ahead

  • Make, bake, and fill the tart crust but do not add the meringue. Chill overnight.

90 Minutes Ahead

  • Make the dressing for the Avocado-Tomato Salad.
  • Whip the meringue and spread it on the tart (do not brown it).

One Hour Ahead

  • Roast the sweet potatoes.

40 Minutes Ahead

  • Make the frittata.
  • While the frittata bakes, assemble the salad.

10 Minutes Ahead

  • While the frittata cools, toss the sweet potatoes with their dressing and return to the oven.

Just Before Brunch

  • Toss the salad with its dressing.
  • Make the mimosas.

Just Before Dessert

  • Brown the meringue on the tart.

The Menu


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