Knowing that many folks would rather spend the morning in their jammies with a cup of coffee than brave the cold morning air and a drive to Pasadena, we invited Amy Wallen, author of “How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies,” to share her ideas for easy eats both for parade and Rose Bowl viewing. Enjoy!
By Amy Wallen
Special to the Southern California News Group
Not able to snag Rose Bowl tickets this year? Think of the bright side: You can’t take a nap on those hard stadium seats during halftime, but you can on your couch. And your kitchen is closer than the concession stand, so you don’t have to worry you might miss that winning field goal when you run to get another beer and rotisserie dog.
Here are a few delicious ways to make sure your day at home is filled with all the same excitement from the parade to the winning touchdown. If you invite your friends over, impress them with these easy brunch and game-time snacks. The hero ingredient in all? Puff pastry.
• Related: Rose Parade survival guide: What you need to know before you go
Mini cinnamon pinwheels
Yields 12-24 rolls
• 1 sheet thawed puff pastry
• 1 tbsp. cinnamon
• 6 tbsp. brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Roll out pastry to smooth creases and to ¼ inch thickness. Spread cinnamon over the entire surface of the pastry. Spread sugar over cinnamon. Crimp one entire edge of dough and roll tight and snug until you form a log. Wrap log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the freezer and with a sharp knife slice the log into 1-inch thick rounds.
4. Place rounds spiral-side down snug next to each other on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake for 8-12 minutes.
• 1 17.3 oz. box frozen puff pastry (two sheets)
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tsp. water
• 6 oz. grated cheese (pick your favorite, like cheddar, havarti or grated Parmesan)
• 1 tbsp. Tajin, or a favorite spice like cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
• Black pepper to taste
1. Thaw puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for an hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Lightly dust a kitchen surface with flour. Unfold, then roll out the pastry to smooth out the creases and to a one-quarter inch thickness. Divide in two while maintaining the rectangular shape. Keep both pastries the same size.
3. Mix egg and water in a small bowl. Brush onto one pastry to give it an egg wash.
4. Evenly spread half of the grated cheese over egg-washed pastry.
5. Sprinkle one half tablespoon of your spice of choice over cheese.
6. Lay the second pastry on top of the cheese layer. Roll over layered pastries and cheese pressing them together.
7. Spread the second portion of the cheese on top of layered pastries. Sprinkle with remaining spice. Roll the cheese, pressing it into the top pastry and smoothing out both layers together.
8. Cut the rectangles of layered cheese and pastry into half-inch strips. Twist each strip from both ends and lay them out side-by-side on a large baking sheet.
9. Bake for 12-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through.
Puff pastry brunch pizza (Photo courtesy Amy Wallen)
Puff pastry brunch pizza
• 2 sheets thawed puff pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator
• 8 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
• 1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
• 4-6 large eggs
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
• 3 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1. Thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight, or for an hour on the counter.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
3. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and cook the bacon until almost done. It will continue to cook in the oven so don’t go all the way to crispy or you’ll get burned bits in the oven.
4. Unfold pastry sheets. On a lightly dusted surface, roll out to smooth creases and until dough is about ¼ inch thick.
5. Place the 2 sheets of puff pastry sheets on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll the edges to give it a lip all the way around.
6. Sprinkle grated Gruyère over both pastries. To prevent any accidents with shells, crack the eggs into a separate bowl then slide them into place on top of the cheese. Sprinkle bacon evenly over cheese. Place sliced Roma tomatoes in and among the bacon and eggs.
7. Bake pizzas for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry and cheese are golden and the eggs are set. Remove pastries and sprinkle them with scallions. Slice and serve!
Amy Wallen, author of “How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies”
About the author
The latest work by Amy Wallen, a San Diego-based author and teacher, is part memoir, part graphic novel and part cookbook, with pies as the central ingredient. That’s no surprise given the title, “How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies.”
Wallen offers tasty advice for writing a book and getting it published, a process she’s been through before, and she intersperses it with favorite pie recipes. Sometimes pie serves as a metaphor in the book, and as she wrote it, when inspiration sometimes escaped her, baking one was how Wallen got her creative juices flowing once again.
Her sharp wit and sardonic look at the demands of the writing life are paired with illustrations by artist and fellow pie-baker Emil Wilson.
As Wallen says in the introduction, writing and publishing a book is no easy task – “Pie is what got me through.”
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