Sunday Morning Breakfast Pie

In my world, Sundays are the best days. Even though there is the inevitable moment or two, as the day winds down, where you feel the disappointment of an ending weekend, Sundays provide ample time for slowness and care. I hate leaving the house on Sunday. Saturday brunch? Fantastic. Sunday? No, thanks. I have something low and slow I want to get in the oven for a late afternoon meal. I want to spend the day catching up with my mom on the phone, watch a movie on the couch under blankets, work on a project that gives me some happiness. Sundays are pleasurable, are down time, family time, home time. Sundays make me want to strip and freshen the bed, change the tablecloth, only so I can cozy up to them both later for early bedtime reading or dessert.

When all works in my favor and I’m aimed to have a Sunday like this one described, I want something for breakfast that is delicious, that feels decadent, that takes some time, but doesn’t have me in the kitchen for 2 hours. Give me homemade biscuits and tomato gravy. French toast. Breakfast Pie.

The latter has all the tenets of a perfect Sunday morning dish. It’s comforting, it’s satisfying, and it’s completely customizable to your tastes and pantry. Which, when really taking things slow and enjoying the simple pleasures of Sunday, allow you to appeal to your deepest gustatory desires. If you have a sense of what things you might like in quiche or frittata, those same things work here. In essence, you’re creating a kind of breakfast pizza sans sauce (though no one is saying you couldn’t make hollandaise!). While I happened to have a Trader Joe’s pizza crust on hand, forming the base for this, I’ve used this 30-minute dough recipe before and it’s both tasty and easy. While it’s resting, you can prep the rest of your ingredients, keeping time on your side.

Today’s breakfast pie had to do with clearing out some leftovers in the fridge – 2 handfuls of cooked, cold hashbrowns, a small piece of purple onion, some cooked bacon hanging out in the cheese bin from earlier in the week – while having something toasty and cheesy on my plate by the time a load of laundry was done. This is a great recipe for getting creative, for making substitutions that – within reason – work, only taking you in a different direction, not throwing off the whole dish. It can be really down-home or made fancier with something like fresh dill and smoked salmon. It’s great right after it’s set out of the oven or at room temperature, making it perfect for a brunch buffet or potluck, too. Depending on what else is on the table, it can easily serve a small crowd.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Pie
6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1 pizza dough, room temperature (I used Trader Joe’s dough. Homemade is great, but dough in the refrigerated tube works too!)
5 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or cream
Salt & Pepper
1-cup of pre-cooked hashbrowns (or any kind of pre-cooked potatoes)
6 slices of pre-cooked bacon, chopped
1-1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Tablespoons of diced red onion
4oz. of cream cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a quarter sheet pan with a 1-inch edge and roll your room temperature dough into the corners and up the sides of the pan. If the dough is cold, it will shrink down and not allow you to completely spread it to the size of the pan, so make sure it is room temperature. Cover the bottom of the dough with a cup of the mozzarella. When melted, this will provide enough barrier from the wetness of the egg mixture to keep your bottom crust crusty and brown as opposed to mushy. Next sprinkle the potatoes over the cheese and follow with the chopped bacon, evenly distributing the ingredients. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and the milk with salt and pepper and pour the mixture over bottom of the dough slowly, making sure it gets into the corners and between the pieces of potato and bacon. You should have an even, eggy layer spotted with bacon and potatoes. Next, sprinkle the diced red onion over the top and scatter the cubes of cream cheese over the egg mixture as well, making sure they are halfway submerged. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes. After the half hour has elapsed, check the dish. If the crust is brown, but the egg is not entirely set in the center, put your broiler on low and allow to cook an additional 5 minutes, or as needed, checking regularly. When finished baking, allow to cool slightly and set up for approximately 5-7 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares and serve. I like mine dotted with hot sauce.

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