Sunday, 28 July 2013

Putting the "Break" in Breakfast

"Crumble" di Bacca Rossa & Cumquat con Foglie di Shiso Zuccherati
Red Berry & Cumquat Crumble with Sugared Shiso Leaves

Oh, I know it is called "break-fast" because it is the meal that breaks the "fasting" period of the prior night and the time spent without eating since the last evening meal... but that's just lame. Going to bed at night isn't fasting! But crumbling up butter cookies in the morning to make something awesome to eat is breaking and the time it takes to make this delicious sweet treat is fast- so this was this mornings "break-fast"- please excuse the lame intro- but at least the description here fits!

I had picked up these beautiful red berries and the cumquats at the market hall yesterday... figs are not yet quite in season and I wanted something different, other than the usual melons and peaches that are in abundance... but I didn't really have a plan as to what I was going to do with them!

The other thing I bought yesterday were the cookies I used to make this- so I can't claim to have made it out of stale cookies, although this would be a great idea to keep in mind for that. I was planning on crushing them up and turning them into a pie crust- but as you can see I changed my mind! I thought this would be more fun, as well as it making more sense for a small single-serving such as I was about to make. Well- I suppose it MAY have been enough for two- but as I live along and it tasted so amazing... let me just stick with the single-serving statement ;-)

I snapped up the egg and butter cookies (you could use any other kind you may prefer) until I had about 1 coffee mugs worth- that is a decent amount for a single serving. I then plucked about half as much in quantity of the red berries and sliced up as many cumquats- very simple. 

The next thing I did was to separate an egg and to whisk the white into a firm meringue, with just a little sugar or Stevia and to do the same with the yolk, which of course did not gain any volume. So to the yolk I added a tablespoon of yogurt, a little cinnamon, a little lemon juice, the obligatory pinch of salt and a little lemon zest. I added the creamy egg yolk mix to the egg white, folded it in carefully and then added the cookies, berries and cumquats and in turn, stirred them gently through.

I then lined a small baking dish with paper, buttered it and spooned in the mixture. I made sure to smooth it and press it down and then popped it into a pre-heated oven for around 20-30 at around 350°F. And whilst it was in the oven, I improvised a quick trick to "jazz-up" those beautiful shiso leaves!

The proper way to have done it, would have been to have dipped them into a sugar syrup and then dehydrated them for a few hours- but I neither had the time, nor do I own one of those specialist ovens that dries out fruits and vegetables at a low heat over a number of hours... and as this WAS going to be my breakfast, of course I wanted to have it fast!

To make them, I melted a very small amount of butter in a non-stick pan and when it began to sizzle slightly, added the leaves, one by one and fried them for a minute or so from each side. As soon as I had flipped them over, I sprinkled them very lightly with sugar, (just a hint!) and then popped them into the oven whilst the crumble was coming together.

After 4-5 minutes, the leaves were nice and crispy, so I took them out and whilst I was at it, I squeezed a little honey over the crumble and popped it back in for a final 4-5 minutes, to become crispy, golden brown and irresistible! 

As soon as it had cooled down, I served up the crumble with a scoop of creamy, whipped Greek yogurt and swooned at how amazing it was... and at how fast I had pulled it all together! Together with the crispy, sugared leaves, this was a real treat, considering it was made of just a handful of broken cookies! Hope you try it yourselves sometime... you won't regret it! 

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