Once we started hosting an annual Easter brunch, this holiday quickly became one of my favorites. What could be better than filling our apartment with friends, family and flowers? This Easter I chose the happiest color combination I could think of – pink and orange – inspired by the terracotta rooftops and bougainvillea we saw in Lisbon last year. I set out blue and white china, which alludes to the azulejos (painted tiles) that adorn many of the homes in Portugal. Wine crates overflowing with lilacs, ranunculi and garden roses, a pink jute runner and delicious bottles of sparkling lemonade and rosé played into the vivid pastel color scheme, along with my grandmother’s collection of candy-colored depression glass containing jordan almonds.
Since there’s such a tight window between the end of Easter service and brunch I like to put out ample hors d’oeuvres to keep guests happy while I put the finishing touches on the meal. I threw together this hazelnut, honey and sage burrata spread and served it with a pile of toasted rustic baguette slices allowing guests to assemble their own crostinis. Watermelon wedges with sea salt and mint, a spring crudité platter, and my mother’s classic deviled eggs rounded out our starters.
We served our meal buffet-style in the kitchen with a lineup of warm cheddar dill scones, four cheese mac-n-cheese, orchard-and-vineyard salad (also made by my mom), green beans with pine nut puree, honey-maple ham and this easy provincial lamb. Additionally, our friend Timothy made the most beautiful loaves of Easter bread and McLaren brought a ham and cheese casserole that was a traditional Easter dish at his parent’s house. So delicious!
Large parties are a great excuse to make oodles of dessert, and with 27 guests we had lots of options to satisfy every palette, including blueberries with lavender-infused whipped cream, a raspberry tart, and miniature crème brûlées — which are always a crowd-pleaser. Our friend Jordan was kind enough to ask for the menu in advance and brought the most delicious Armagnac that paired perfectly with the tart and had even non-cognac drinkers singing it’s praises as dusk fell and our brunch segued to a candlelit dinner.
Special thanks to McLaren, Timothy, Brittney, Jordan, my parents (Leanne and Steve!), Shao, Kris and David for pulling together to make this year’s Easter celebration so memorable. xx, SF
Photos by Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com