Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Favourite Summer Baking with Longing for Marché St. Georges

There are few things I enjoy or remember more about my summer holidays then long afternoons alone or with friends at a cafe. Even if I'm enjoying only one mug of coffee, the act of sitting and drawing out the experience, makes it seem as if I'm drinking coffee "all day." And what could be more relaxing?

We're spoiled here in Toronto -- there is so much good coffee .. here ... here ... here...oh and this one and this one.. this is one of our old stand-bys, where I drank I gigantic up of cinnamon laced coffee served to me in a beer glass and enjoyed and peanut butter and jelly sandwich, all alone. This one is a frequent stop on our bike rides, and this one, just around the corner from me, holds such sentimental value. I've enjoyed solo breakfasts over bottomless coffee here and here, because breakfast treats make the coffee experience that much better, don't you think?

Despite all the wonderful cafes here in Toronto, yesterday, my heart tugged towards to a neighbourhood coffee shop that we went to in Vancouver: Marché St. Georges.  It's tucked away in quiet residential neighbourhood, away from the more stylish, sleek-looking cafes on busier, streets. It's also a market that sells unique products and gifts such as specialty teas, coffees, cookies and an intriguing honey, flavoured with thai chillies. Although the gifts were tempting, we settled on iced coffees and a few treats -- a cherry crumble tart and a butter tart -- and let the late afternoon melt into evening.

But yesterday when I was thinking about Marché St. Georges, it occurred to me that I wanted to have breakfast there, sitting in the patio, slowly enjoying a coffee and something sweet, warm and fruity, in front of some reading material or maybe even some *gasp* planning for September. If anything were to make the prospect of going back to work in a few weeks bearable, it would be breakfast and coffee at Marché St. Georges. But since I'm in Toronto and no longer rambling about the streets and trails of Vancouver, I'll just savour the memories along with my fruity and caffeinated breakfast.

And my breakfast of choice? It would have to be a simple summer fruit crumble. When I got back from Vancouver, there were baskets of sour cherries just begging to be taken home from the farmer's market. Some of them were cooked down and jarred, but most of them went into making this crumble many, many times. In with the cherries, I threw some raspberries, and some chopped rhubarb. A squeeze of lemon would have made sense, but I didn't want to taint that beautiful, almost almond-like flavour of the sour cherries, so I skipped that part. I also skipped the spices I would generally add to a crisp or crumble topping like cinnamon or nutmeg, just to keep things nice and fruity and pure.

I ate this warm, right out of the oven with my coffee, but it was equally as good eaten cold then next day with some yogurt. It was beautiful and the perfect way to wake up on a perfect summer day.

Simple Summer Fruit Crumble
inspired by Joy the Baker
serves 4-6

6 cups of fresh summer fruit, chopped if necessary (berries, cherries, peaches.. go wild)
2 tablespoons of natural cane sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon of spelt flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of rolled oats
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
3 tablespoons of Earth Balance (or butter)

1. Place your fruit in a large baking dish. Sprinke over the cane sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of rolled oats. Mix well.

2. In a bowl, stir together the rest of the flour, oats and brown sugar until everything is evenly combined. Add the maple syrup of stir gently.

3. Add the Earth Balance or butter and with your fingers, rub it against the flour mixture until you get a nice coarse meal.

4. Spoon the crumble mixture over the fruit mixture and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or so, or until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up.

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