Edited repost from August 2009
Christmas has always been a time for family in the Braswell household. After 25 years straight of resting under the same roof on the night of December 24th you start to develop a fair amount of traditions. Singing carols after sunrise and gathering together before heading to the tree with a glass of milk or coffee. The tree is fully decorated and the air smells like Balsam. While the breakfast is cooking we’d slowly go through stockings, enjoying further traditions like California Tortilla coupons (from Santa woo hoo!) or Hostess Snowballs for my mother and sister.
To get breakfast moving my mother or father would mix the ingredients for the Muenster Pie and my sister and I would fight over who gets to cook the lil’ smokies (mini sausage links). When you are in charge of heating them up (technically they are precooked) you are sheriff and therefore county chair of the lil’ smokey tax collection… With the Muenster pie in the oven we would head back to the living room whilst the oven slowly churned a mix of eggs, cheese, flour, and milk with a bowl of ham cubes waiting patiently atop the stove.
Each year an entire casserole’s worth of Muenster pie is devoured through hungry 2nds or 3rds til the glass dish is once again reflective and clear. The accompanying mini sausages, doughnut holes and OJ/’pagne always ended up with a delicious yet superfluous role.
As an easy to prep and scalable dish, Muenster pie makes a great choice when cooking for a large group especially for breakfast. Most of the ingredients can be prepared the night before so actual time spent to get the casserole in the oven can be shrunk a fair bit. Recently I made pies in an 8″ circular dish, cupcake rounds and a 9″ square baking dish and sliced them like quiche or brownies. The base ingredients shown below are in the true Braswell style with the toppings at the end the only new twist.
Everything you see in the photos below is double the amount of the recipe presented.
The above was cooked in a cupcake round. While well portioned for an individual (good for a buffet or other breakfast station), it is preferable to use a larger dish to make the batch.
serves 4-6 fairly well
1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup milk (another)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 lb Muenster cheese
1/2 tbls cayenne
Slat & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup ham cubes
(or) 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
(or) 1/2 cup chopped cooked chicken sausage
1/4 cup diced cilantro
1/4 cup diced green onons
Chopped red/green bell pepper
Browned or caramelized onions
Shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Crack the eggs into a large bowl with room for whisking.
Whisk the eggs.
Add the flour.
Add a 1/2 cup of milk. That should leave another 1/2 cup of milk for later.
Whisk it all together making sure to get the flour clumps smoothed into the batter.
How to cube the Muenster cheese
Muenster cheese is the American version of the French Munster cheese named after the city of Munster in Germany. It is a creamy cows milk cheese with an orange and edible rind. It melts really well and is perfect for grilled cheese or other hot sandwiches and burgers.
Cut the cheese block into long rectangles (much like carrot sticks).
Cut is crosswise at lengths equaling the sides of your square crossection. Just make it a cube.
Yay cubed cheese!
A mound of Shreddar.
Add in most of the cheese, the other milk, some toppings (to get mixed in with the batter) and your spices (garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne)
Whisk again until smooth.
Grease the pan or spray it with PAM (worked this morning instead of butter!). Pour the batter into the pan and put on any toppings that should be baked into the top (maybe leave aside cilantro and some of any meat topping). Put in the oven at 375. Cooking time will vary from 15-20 minutes.
Dice the onions, set aside.
Dice the cilantro, set aside.
Cube or shred any cheeses (Pepper Jack shown).
Even if your sausage is already cooked, try to get a quick sear on the cubes of it. This will add some nice color and texture to the dish.
While you want to put about 3/4 of your toppings in the mix, add the last 1/4 after the dish has set a bit. This way the toppings will stay on top.
When the dishes are halfway cooked, about 8-10 minutes in, top with the remaining ingredients. These would be anything you dont want to cook for too long (cilantro, remaining meat, up to you!)
Cook until a knife comes out clean and the top has a slight golden tinge. Overcooking is a possibility, so try to take it out while it is still a touch moist.
Take out and enjoy while hot and cheesy!