It's a Berry Good Breakfast
Wake up to some delicious breakfasts made with your favorite berries.
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Lazy, hazy summer days need a jump-start just like any other day.
In winter, we turn to citrus fruit such as grapefruit halves and tangerines for a morning pick-me-up. In summer, berries and stone fruit can help refuel your body after eight hours of sleep.
If time is a problem, toss those berries or fruit slices on top of cereal. Blueberries, sliced plums and peaches, and pitted cherries are also excellent in muffins.
If you want to make an ultimate breakfast worthy of a weekend morning, a vacation day or a pretty little brunch, combine seasonal fruit with your favorite waffle or pancake recipe, or French toast. There are even specialty breads cooked in a griddle, skillet or baking pan.
Pancakes are said to be one of humankind's oldest forms of bread, according to The Food Lover's Companion. Pancakes begin as batter poured into rounds on a griddle or in a skillet and cooked over high heat. When bubbles appear on the top side, it's time to flip the cake.
Some pancake batters are thinner; these are used to make crepes, which often are served as desserts. A blintz is a type of crepe.
Waffles, also made from batter, have a honeycombed surface. Baked in a hinged iron, the two sides cook at once. Trendy Belgian waffle irons yield thicker waffles than traditional irons. "An American waffle gains its rising power solely from baking powder," writes Brigit L. Binns in Williams-Sonoma Breakfast. "A Belgian waffle is raised with yeast ... and beaten egg whites." Binns, co-author of 11 cookbooks, pairs buttermilk waffles with blackberries and other berries, Belgian waffles with strawberries, and cheese blintzes with sweet cherries in Breakfast.
French toast is made by dipping slices of bread in an egg-milk mixture that may contain cinnamon, vanilla or other flavoring. The dipped slices are cooked on a griddle until sizzling and turned to cook the other side. French toast is often served with syrup. For a less sweet breakfast, it may be served with cinnamon sugar or confectioners' sugar.
Joy of Cooking describes a basic strata as being between a baked custard and French toast. Layers of day-old bread form the base, and sausage, cheese and vegetables often provide flavor. An egg custard is then slowly poured over the top, and the dish is refrigerated overnight. It is baked the next morning.
Similarly, a Dutch baby is a German pancake in which the batter is poured into a skillet and baked in the oven; when removed from the oven, it is puffed and golden, according to Joy of Cooking. Dutch babies can be served with strawberries, blueberries or any fruit desired.
All these dishes may be combined with summer fruits to yield delicious and memorable breakfasts or brunches.
In Toasty Plum Pecan Waffles with Fresh Plums and Maple Syrup, the diced plums acquire an intense, jammy flavor.
Baked French Toast with Cherry Topping is a fresh and healthful alternative to traditional french toast. The slices of French bread soak overnight in a milk mixture made with maple syrup and orange peel and baked for 20 minutes. While the slices are baking, cook ham or sausage. Then serve the baked French toast with fresh cherries and a dollop of vanilla yogurt. Toast the occasion with orange juice or mimosas.
If you want to wake up to a breakfast that's ready to pop in the oven, consider Blueberry Cheese Strata, which is made with fresh or frozen blueberries, low-fat Swiss cheese, eggs, milk and bread.
In season, you can serve Buttermilk Waffles with fresh blackberries, raspberries, strawberries or blueberries.
Make a berry sauce by lightly mashing and adding sugar to the fruit, or use a prepared syrup. Don't forget to freeze some berries to use long after summer days have faded. That way, you will have a taste of summer all year long via these delicious breakfasts.
Buttermilk Waffles with Berries
2 large eggs
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
butter for serving (optional)
warmed maple syrup for serving (optional)
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
Preheat a waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, using a sturdy whisk, beat eggs until evenly mixed. Add the buttermilk, oil, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda. Whisk together until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk just until the large lumps disappear. The waffle batter should be a little thicker than heavy cream. Transfer the batter into a large glass measuring pitcher.
When the waffle iron is hot, pour some batter evenly over the center of the grid, easing it toward, but not into, the corners and edges with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Close the iron and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the exterior of the waffle is a golden brown and almost crusty and the inside is soft, light and springy, about four minutes. Transfer the waffle to an uncovered platter in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining waffles in the same way. Divide the waffles among the individual plates and serve at once with butter, maple syrup and berries.
Yield: 4 or 5 servings
---Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast (Recipes and text by Brigit L. Binns)
This lovely cocktail will make you as energy independent as Brazil.