Morning of Quiet.


This morning was one of those ironically perfect mornings. I spent my first waking hours sitting quietly in my bedroom reading an inspiring art book and welcoming the morning sun streaming into my back bedroom window. I was fully awake and refreshed, spirit fed, when the boys awoke and I lay and cuddled with them in their beds for a few minutes. I even had this home-baked gorgeous seasonal berry crisp for breakfast, eaten directly from the pie dish with a spoon.

So why is it ironic? First of all, last night we had eight high school boys gleefully comandeering our t.v.s to have an all night video game fest. This morning every corner of my family room was strewn with sprawling almost-man bodies, groggy from their two hours of sleep. The bass rhythm of rock band was pounding through my bedroom wall until the wee hours. I stayed up late and slept with earplugs in. A few hours later I was awakened by Tyler yelling down the stairs for Mommy, so I jumped up and ran to him to keep him from waking the guys at such an ungodly hour as 5:30 is to a teenager. “I thought we were going surfboarding,” Tyler told me groggily before settling back into bed for another two hours. But by that time I was fully awake.

My first instinct was to be annoyed with both husband and son for getting me to bed so late and waking me up so early, respectively. I think it’s only God’s gentle nudging that brought me to realize it was early morning…my favorite time of day. The house was quiet…a rare occasion. I had an inspiring book…one of my favorite pasttimes. This morning was a gift. Thank you, Lord, for helping me see it that way and take advantage of it.

And as for the berry crisp, it is my favorite treat these days. Here is the recipe:

Summer Fruit Crisp

Yield:8 to 10 servings
Baking time:45 to 55 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for dish (I skipped this.)
  • Crisp Topping
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (original recipe calls for 1 1/4 c. regular white flour.)
  • 3⁄4 cup (51⁄4 ounces) granulated sugar (I used Turbinado this time.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (this is the key…the sweet/salty combo is divine!)
  • 1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 cubes (oops! I used salted. It turned out fine.)

Fruit Filling

  • 1⁄2 cup (51⁄4 ounces) granulated sugar (I used just under a half cup of agave nectar instead…sweet and fruity and much more natural than granulated sugar.)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • about 4 cups seasonal fruit (the original recipe calls for nectarines and boysenberries. I used a basket of overripe strawberries I was trying to salvage, some blackberries, a bunch of blueberries, and a nectarine I needed to use up…I think the berries are key for the tartness. I’m sure any combination of fruit would be delicious.)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Cook’s notes: You will want to use a wide dish for this recipe so the filling can spread out in a shallow layer, which allows more water (from the fruit) to evaporate. (The original recipe calls for 3/4 c of almonds in the topping. I found that I liked it better without. According to the authors, “almonds are the first choice to complement the combination of nectarines and boysenberries, but walnuts or hazelnuts also work well.”)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 3-quart baking dish (see cook’s notes).
2. Prepare topping: Mix flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Add butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs. (Alternatively, you can put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly, then transfer to a bowl and squeeze the mixture between your fingers to make crumbs.) Add the almonds and mix gently; try not to break the almond slices. Put the topping in the freezer while you prepare the fruit filling.
3. Prepare fruit filling: Rub the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl. Add nectarines and boysenberries, toss until evenly coated, then gently stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour the fruit into prepared baking dish and scatter topping over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling. Cool for 30 minutes before serving, topped with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Wrapped in plastic wrap, the crisp will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from the source:“Rustic Fruit Desserts” by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson (Ten Speed Press, $22)



3 thoughts on “Morning of Quiet.

  1. I can just imagine all those “almost man bodies” strewn all over the living room. Too funny. I love the mornings too. All that day ahead of you – fresh and full of possibility – it just makes me smile.

  2. sometimes i have the best days when i just get up and get going, even if i know that i am tired and could sleep a few (ahem) more hours.

    so glad you saw the beauty in it.

    and that cobbler! looks SSSOOOOOOO yummy! (:

  3. Tequila is made of agave– hence a winner. Oh,for cyber buddies, that,s my favorite “Strong Medicine”. Back to the recipe. Your grandmother used to make fruit crisps out of all sort of things,adding canned fruit or jam when not enough ripe fruit was on hand. Her main rule in this game is DO NOT GO TO THE STORE. You may have missed her fruit crisps as they could have been hoarded. Or she was getting so elderly that she forgot that One was in the cupboard. No, she would not have hoarded it. It would be that you came as a large family bunch. Obviously there was not enough for everyone so maybe she would serve something else. She was always very hospitable. And back to me. I usually make a more liquid “crust”, put it on the bottom and let it rise up through the fruit and call it a cobbler. Main differences are: It needs something to make it rise such as baking soda or powder. (In a rush, I use Bisquick, however,it will taste less fresh). It,s really just a gummy version of a basic biscuit recipe with sugar and maybe vanilla or cinnamon added. It is difficult to spread the gummy batter over the bottom of the pan. I remind myself not to be fussy as it will spread and rise. Advantages are that it has more bulk to feed more people or make you feel fuller. If you have a glass door to the oven you can watch the dough rise up through the juicy fruit as it works it way to the top. For mothers this has the added entertainment value if the kids or husband are around.Almost done. Selfishly one could decide by texture. There is something great about that crisp teeth piercing food– Chunch. Sensuality is important.

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