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Mother’s Day Brunch

Maybe you and the kids plan to surprise Mommy with breakfast in bed, or you are having all the mothers in your family over for a festive Sunday brunch. Either way, try this recipe from Chef Athena Padilla-Gordon of Element in Sutter Creek, where it is one of her most popular dishes.

“We call this the Pan O’ Gold With Chantilly Creme. I think it has a nice balance of flavor profiles and is not overly or under-sweet. It leans on the lighter side of density compared to most other French toast experiences, is aesthetically pretty and can be topped with seasonal fruit.”—Chef Padilla-Gordon

By Thea Marie Rood
Photography Courtesy of Chef Padilla-Gordon

Pan O' Gold with Chantilly Creme

Pan O’ Gold with Chantilly Creme.

Pan O’ Gold With Chantilly Creme

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1–2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced open and scraped out

General Ingredients:
1 loaf plain or poppyseed challah, sliced to 1½-inch thickness
1 oz pure maple syrup (optional)
Seasonal fruit to top: sliced, diced, julienned, however you prefer
Garnish: light dusting of powdered sugar
Unsalted butter or coconut oil

Chantilly Creme:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced open and scraped out
Squeeze of lemon wedge

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and milk together until incorporated, then add remaining batter ingredients. Mix thoroughly but stop before it becomes frothy. Set aside.

In a separate chilled bowl, add whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla bean, and rapidly whisk until medium peaks are formed (will take a few minutes). Then add the squeeze of lemon and gently fold into cream. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Heat nonstick fry pan on medium heat with either coconut oil or a dab of butter. Individually dredge the sliced challah into the batter, flipping once inside, and place into fry pan, 3–4 minutes each side or until golden brown. Arrange 2–3 slices of golden brown toast overlapped on a plate, top them with desired seasonal fruit, and a dusting of powdered sugar. On the same plate, add a dollop of the cream mixture on or next to the French toast. If desired, add a light drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Chef Padilla-Gordon and Family

Chef Padilla-Gordon and Family.

About the Chef

Padilla-Gordon serves breakfast six days a week to her hungry guests, many of whom are from the adjacent Hanford House Inn, the bed-and-breakfast she and her lawyer-husband, Robert Gordon, have owned since 2008. Five years in, they took on a major renovation of the 30-year-old hotel, adding a full commercial kitchen and restaurant on the street side of the building, and her long-dreamed-of restaurant Element was born. But perhaps the biggest challenge for this hardworking couple was adding children to the mix: son Ravi (now 3½) and daughter Naya (who is 1). “Being a mother now has really opened my world to a new chapter of joy and happiness—it still seems surreal,” she says. “But it definitely brings a whole new set of challenges and juggling, which sometimes means on weekends Naya is in a pack on my chest while I seat or bus tables in the restaurant. I’m sure every family is familiar with trying to find that balance.”

Are you looking for another great recipe to try? Our February/March issue featured “Dinner for Two-to-Four.” Click here to read it.

Comments (3)

  • Two Bright Summer Salads — Sierra Living

    July 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    […] case you missed the last food feature, here’s the recipe for a Mother’s Day Brunch from Chef […]

  • Denice

    August 7, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    This was a really amazing post. Thank you!

    1. Dan

      August 8, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Thank you Denice!

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