Chef Lee Anne Wong of Honolulu’s favorite brunch spot, Koko Head Cafe, is a native of Troy, New York, and a second generation Chinese-American. After working in some of New York City’s top kitchens, she relocated to Hawaii and opened up an all-day brunch joint. Her breakfast bruschetta is a fan favorite at Koko Head Cafe that “offers Hawaii up on a plate” by showcasing the local produce of the island. Strawberry, pineapple, mango, papaya and star fruit top a Greek yogurt spread sweetened with honey and macadamia nuts. It’s all piled on top of sliced bread slathered with sugared butter, which is a staple snack on the island. Wong polishes off the breakfast bruschetta recipe with a flurry of lime zest and emphasizes that it’s a breakfast that’s made to share.
Heads up Hawaiians and anyone traveling to Hawaii in late October: Wong will be cooking at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival's Battle of the Brunch on October 30th in Oahu.
photo by alex tepper
For the bruschetta
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
Seeds from ½ vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
1 baguette cut into ½-thick slices
Your choice of fruit, sliced thinly in bite-sized pieces (Wong suggests strawberries, pineapple, mango, papaya, and star fruit)
For the macadamia nut yogurt
2 cups Greek yogurt, drained
½ cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts
½ cup Hawaiian honey
How to Make It
Bake the bread. In a bowl or a standing mixer, combine the softened butter with the sugar, pinch salt, and vanilla until well blended. (Use the paddle fitting to blend butter.)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter both sides of each baguette slice generously. Lay on parchment or Silpats on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping the rusk after 20 minutes until both sides are light golden brown and the toast is dry, firm, and caramelized. Allow to cool at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a dark and cool dry place.
Make the macadamia nut yogurt. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
Assemble the dish. Spoon the macadamia nut yogurt on a piece of rusk. Shingle the thinly sliced fruit on the toast, alternating colors. Garnish with fresh lime zest and serve immediately.