Recipe: Magical Breakfast Crisp
Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.
I’ve figured out a new kind of magical food efficiency. I can make a single piece of fruit stretch through an entire week’s worth of school lunches—and then (for the grand finale), I can transform that very same piece of fruit into a fancy weekend breakfast.
I know, it’s mindboggling. But I’m going to share my secrets with you. Here’s how it works:
When I shop for the week, I pick out a few good pieces of fruit. Usually these days it’s what’s on sale, maybe organic if I’m lucky, but most importantly not soft or mealy. Lately the lunchbox request has been apples and pears, so that’s what I look for. You with me so far?
The next step is to put the chosen fruit out in the fruit bowl on the counter. Then, on Sunday night, when the girls pack their lunches for the next day, (or Monday morning after they’ve forgotten and I do it for them, alternating between grumbling about sandwiches and hollering “time to brush your teeth!”) they grab their fruit of choice and put it in the lunch box.
Then (and this is the really important part), the fruit must come home again in the lunch box, untouched but slightly worse for the wear. It’s at this point that I feign frustration: “Why didn’t you eat your lunch?”—and receive excuses “I didn’t have time!” The truth is, it’s all going according to plan.
We repeat this process over and over. The fruit goes back into the lunch box, comes home, goes back in, comes home and so on. By Friday afternoon, you should have fruit that looks like the photo above.
Come Saturday morning, it’s time for Breakfast Crisp, a more seedy and nutty, less sweet version of its dessert cousin. Serve with maple yogurt, and it’s fancy and nourishing, beautiful and special. And of course, total magic.
Magical Breakfast Crisp
Serves 4 to 6
2 pears, peeled and cubed
2 apples, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
4 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup grated unsweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Maple yogurt, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Stir together the fruit, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the lemon, and a pinch of salt in a 10-inch deep dish pie pan or a 9x9-inch square baking pan.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, coconut, almonds, sesame seeds, the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar, and the melted butter. Spread the topping over the fruit and bake until the top is golden and the filling begins to bubble, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve topped with maple yogurt.