Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fruity: Mixed Berry Breakfast Parfaits

I recently admitted to eating oven roasted tomatoes with blue cheese for breakfast, but I do sometimes eat some quote-unquote normal things for breakfast now and again. I’ve expanded on one of my usual breakfasts (yogurt with granola), and I think it’s absolutely improved. I noticed this combination in an old issue of Donna Hay magazine, and the fruit compote looked easy enough, so I gave it a go.

It’s really nothing more complicated than some fruit cooked down with sugar until syrupy, but it’s a beautiful vibrant red from the berries, and thick and sweet from the sugar, and the pectin in the berries. Since it uses frozen raspberries, you can make it as soon as strawberries hit the market in the spring (which for us here in the Seattle area was last week; they’re California strawberries, which aren’t exactly local, but I just couldn’t resist).

Once you have the fruit cut up, this compote requires almost no attention beyond the occasional stir. The recipe as printed says it makes two servings, but they must be intended to serving ravenous beasts who haven’t eaten in a month, because you wind up with about two and a half cups of compote, and I’ve never been able to eat more than about a half a cup in a sitting. I mean, you know, sooner or later you get full.

Although it’s presented as a breakfast dish layered with yogurt and granola, I would think this would be super as a dessert topping as well. It would marry nicely with an angel food cake, a lemon pound cake, or ice cream, and would be an interesting change from the expected strawberries in a strawberry shortcake. You could even roll out puff pastry and use it as a sort of tart filling (it might be a little messy, but it would be delicious).

Combined with the white yogurt and the toasty brown granola, this compote is visually appealing as well. The contrast in the colors is quite marked, and even though it’s a simple as can be to make it and put the parfait together, it’s very impressive. It makes you feel like you’re having breakfast at a fancy resort, even if you’re just in your own kitchen.

Mixed Berry Breakfast
from Donna Hay magazine, #23
makes about 6 servings, if you’re not a ravenous beast who hasn’t eaten in a month

2 c frozen raspberries
8 ¾ oz strawberries, halved
1 green apple, cored and sliced
½ cup caster sugar
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup toasted granola

Place raspberries, strawberries, apple, and sugar in a medium frying pan over high heat. Cook 20 minutes until apple is tender, stirring constantly. Allow to cool completely. Spoon fruit mixture into glasses, top with yogurt and toasted granola.

Granola recipes are a dime a dozen, but if you want yet another one, here's one I like. Because I make it specifically to go over this fruit conserve, I leave out any dried fruit. If you wanted to add dried fruit, I've included the directions for when to add it in.

adapted from Shelia Lukins' U.S.A. Cookbook
makes 4-6 cups of granola (the higher number if you use the dried fruit, the lower number if you don't), which serves me for a pretty long time; your mileage may vary

2c whole oats
½ cup wheat bran
2/3 c sliced almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup safflower oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
2t cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
1t salt

Preheat oven to 375. Combine oats, bran and nuts in a large bowl. In a small pan over medium heat combine oil, sugar, honey, spices and salt until melted and combined. Pour oil mixture into a large bowl, and slowly whisk in oat mixture, stirring to combine. Spread granola into a 9x13 pan and bake 30 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Granola will not be crisp at this time. Allow to cool 10 minutes, then pour into a bowl and (optional) add in dried fruit as desired (dried blueberries, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, raisins or golden raisins—combined to equal about a cup and a half). If not adding dried fruit, allow granola to cool in the bowl, then pour into an airtight container.

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