Tag Archives: Breakfast

Rainer Cherry Clafoutis

Clafoutis ~ I’ve heard the name tossed about on food TV frequently the past few days, and today it was all I could think about when I saw a stack of beautiful, blushy Rainer cherries at a Granville Island produce stand. This French dessert can be made with any stone fruit (think peaches, plums, apricots) or even with berries, but the classic version from the Limosin region of France uses black cherries.

Rainer Cherry Clafoutis with vanilla ice cream and cherry sauce.

Technically, a clafoutis using anything other than black cherries is a flaugnarde, so says the intertoobs, and in traditional recipies, cherry pits are not removed before baking. Leaving the pits is said to enhance flavour, but I didn’t want to have to pick around them, so I pitted my cherries.

Ingredients are simple: egg, milk, flour, flavour, a little butter or oil. Clafoutis batter is rather thin, like crepe batter, and is usually flavoured with almond or vanilla. It puffs up during baking and cuddles around the fruit as it sets. In fact, it’s very much like making a Dutch Baby pancake.

This was my first attempt at clafoutis, and it turned out quite well. Gingerman liked it, and we had the leftover portion for breakfast the next day. I half made up a recipe on the fly because I had only 2 eggs and a strangely shaped dish. A few more experiments, and I’ll come up with a reliable version of my own. Meanwhile, I found some inspiring recipes online and gathered a bit of clafoutis wisdom to share.

Baking Tips for Clafoutis:

  • Butter & Sugar the baking dish: Butter the bottom and sides of the dish, toss in a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and shake it around to coat the dish. Dump excess sugar that doesn’t stick.
  • Experiment with different fruits and flavour extracts or liquers.
  • Sift the flour to prevent clumps.
  • Bake individual clafoutis in muffin tins or ramekins.
  • Do not open the oven door until the end of baking time!

Recipes for Clafoutis:

Leaving a comment? I’m curious . . . how do you like to eat cherries?

It’s My Breakfast: Mango Peach Cobbler

Mango Peach Cobbler with Milk

Mango Peach Cobbler with Milk

I can hear it now: “You can’t eat cobbler for breakfast!”

Oh yeah? Watch me.

Mangoes are bountiful and ripe in the local produce markets, and these are one of my favourite tropical treats. June is Mango Month, and there are tons of ways to play with this delicious and sexy fruit in your kitchen. The flesh is firm and juicy, with a subtle flavour and an aroma that has hints of nutmeg. Mangoes come in several varieties and are available year-round. If the mangoes at the store are rock hard, pop them in a paper bag and let them rest on the counter for a day or two. Ripe ones smell like. . . well, mangoes, and are very slightly soft.

The tropical and subtropical climates of the world are the best places to grow mangoes. India produces more than half of the world’s crop, but mangos found in most North American markets come from Mexico and South America. I purchased Atulfo mangoes: cute and yellow, a bit smaller than their cousins, but just as delicious. They’re also loaded with nutrients (lots of fiber and over 20 vitamins and minerals). Mangoes can be pickled, dried, pureed, juiced, canned, or frozen.  Keep mango chunks in your freezer (up to 6 months) to use in smoothies—they compliment just about any kind of fruit.

Mango Seed

In the center of the mango is a long flat hard seed covered in coarse fuzz (seen at left above). Stand the mango on its fat end and you’ll see it tapers toward the top on either side. Place the blade of your knife a bit off center and slice off one side, then the other.  You can feel a bit of resistance when you get too close to the seed. I use the tip of a knife to cut diagonal slashes in the flesh, then turn the mangoes out so the cubes of fruit stick up. It looks cool, and you get lovely chunks of mango easily. There’s more than one way to peel a mango. Watch this video from the National Mango Board to learn more.

Cutting Mangoes
I use chunky mango in salads, salsa, and stir-fry as well as desserts (or in this case, breakfast). Usually I make cobbler with berries, but I had this can of peaches layin’ around and figured maybe the peaches and mangoes might enjoy each other’s company.

Cobbler is an extremely versatile recipe, and so easy to throw together with just about any kind of fruit. This is a rustic and homey dessert. The topping falls somewhere between “cakey” and “cookie.” I like mine a bit coarse and packed with a lot of flavour.  Depending on the fruit I’m using, I’ll vary the ingredients a bit. You can find over 100 ways to use mangoes in recipes from the National Mango Board.

Mango-Peach Cobbler

Using fresh fruit is the best option, but frozen mango or peach is fine, and canned peaches will do well enough in a pinch. Unless you’re a purist (or lactose intolerant), please do enjoy a bit of milk, fresh cream, or ice cream with your dessert.

Prepare the Fruit

  • 2 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 1 can peach halves, drained and diced
  • 1/4 Cup sugar to sweeten if needed
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of fresh grated nutmeg
  • dash of salt

Mix the Cobble

  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 C ground walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • grated nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbs melted butter

Mix with a fork until combined. Sprinkle over fruit in a 9×9 pan.

Bake at 375° for about 35 minutes until topping is golden. Serve with ice cream or a glass of cold milk.

Mango Facts and More Fun:
Plant Cultures: Mango

Mango.org

Egg in a basket with a side of bacon, please.

Breakfast

Painting by Lisa Orgler

Bacon, eggs, and buttered toast—the perfect sunrise combo. A hearty breakfast reminds me of vacations at the beach, camping in the mountains, lazy weekend mornings in my pajamas, and family. Sometimes, as I eat, I can still hear the sound of white diner dishes and cheap flatware clinking and clattering in the background.

I love this particular breakfast so much, I sometimes make it for dinner. It’s fast, it’s filling, and it’s really easy. Perfect for two, and a big hit with the kids. Thick sliced bread becomes a nest for a soft over easy egg, topped by a crisp circle of toast for dipping. And crispy bacon on the side . . . yum. Orange juice, milk, and heaven.

P.S. Thanks for painting one of my favourite breakfasts, Lisa. If you haven’t seen her illustrations at The Lunchbox Project, you really must. So original and cute!

Egg in a basket with a side of bacon.

Egg in a basket with a side of bacon.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Cut the middle out of a piece of thick white bread with a round cookie cutter.
  • Cook bacon until crisp and set aside.
  • Melt a dab of butter in a frying pan on medium heat.
  • Place bread in the pan, then crack an egg into the hole. This is your egg in a basket!
  • Salt & Pepper the egg and let it cook until the white begins to set.
  • Lift the bread and egg with a spatula, toss another dab of butter into the pan, and flip your egg basket over to finish cooking. Toast the bread circle in the pan at the same time.

When the toasty parts are golden and the white of the egg is opaque, you are well on your way to deliciousness.

I like my yolk runny, but the whites firm. If you want your yolk hard cooked, poke it with a fork and cook on both sides until the egg feels firm to the touch.

You might also be interested in Toad In A Hole.

Lessons Learned

  • Dig out those cookie cutters and cut out fun toast shapes like stars or big flowers!
  • The secret to perfectly crispy bacon is never take your eyes off it. Use medium heat (or a bit lower) and a cast iron pan. Turn it occasionally with tongs, and if the grease gets too deep, take out a few spoonfuls. As the bacon cooks, it will shrink and start to brown. Turn it more often, and take it out when it has browned well. It will crisp a bit as it drains.

Efficient Kitchen Tips

  1. Use just one pan! Make the bacon first, set on a paper towel to drain, and pour off the grease. Then wipe out the pan with the bacon towel (don’t rinse or wash it) and continue cooking.
  2. Please, don’t pour grease down your sink! You’ll regret it. Clean and dry a metal can (coffee tin or soup can) and use it to collect drippings. When the liquid solidifies, scrape it out in the trash (clean the can for reuse). Caution: varmints love bacon grease!
  3. You can save bacon grease to flavor other foods. Pour it into a clean metal or pyrex bowl, let it cool, strain it (if you want) into a small storage container and keep it in the fridge. A little bit goes a long way, and you can freeze it, too.