February 26, 2013
With all the uncertainties that each day brings, it is good to have some things you can count on. The growing early morning sunrise, creeping from pink and blue to daylight. Breakfast. My mornings are not defined by uncertainty, but I am never sure what I will have for my first meal of the day. I'm not the person who eats the same breakfast every day without fail. I rotate, randomly, between oatmeal and eggs or occasionally something that requires mixing a batter.
Recently none of the usuals appealed. I wanted something with fruit and grains but not oatmeal or muffins or waffles. I started to imagine the morning at a house deep in a snowy forest of hemlock, pine and hardwood. Next to the stacks of firewood on the front porch there are cross country skis and whether you are about to leave or have just come back from a ski you will want something warm and hearty. Rustic, maybe baked in a cast iron skillet. Satisfying but not fancy. I don't usually tell myself stories about breakfast but there I was in my cozy but not rustic kitchen, the growing daylight strongly hinting at spring, daydreaming about deepest winter.
Spring is definitely not here, but the season is starting to change and as usual I feel it slipping away before I have lived it to its fullest (I must remember not to squander spring when it does arrive). Anyway, back to breakfast. I made a crumbley topping full of nuts and seeds, oats, some flours and cinnamon with maple syrup for sweetness. I filled the bottom of a small skillet with berries and the few remaining cherries from last summer. If snow is falling, watch the flakes gently fall while the whole thing bakes in the oven. If the air is warm enough, open the window and let it cool in the spring breeze.
I used frozen berries and cherries for this crumble. Apples would also be really good. If you are using fresh fruit the cooking time will be a little bit shorter.
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup buckwheat)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups fruit (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar (optional, depending on how sweet you want the fruit to be)
Preheat the oven to 350'. Combine the almonds, sunflower seeds, oats, 1 cup flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the dry ingredients, as if making a pie or biscuit dough. When the butter has been evenly distributed into small pieces, whisk together the egg and maple syrup. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir to make a crumbly evenly moistened dough. Toss the fruit with the 1/4 cup flour and sugar (if using) and pour into an 8-inch cast iron skillet or oven safe dish of a similar size. Sprinkle the crumble on top evenly over the fruit. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.