I ate a lot of fruit as a kid, I would have gladly skipped a meal to eat fresh fruit. Not that I was a fussy kid when it came to food but I think it probably frustrated the heck out of my poor mother. In Bombay, the weather is generally warm year round and there is always an abundance of some delicious seasonal sort of fruit. Unfortunately, unless you had your own farm or your own fruit tree, you really didn't have much of an opportunity to pick fruit fresh of the tree. Believe me I tried, either the trees were to tall or too high to try partake in any such activities and my parents didn't trust me enough to climb up a tree and come down safely in one piece.
To fill the void left behind by childhood, I started filling up my adulthood with trips to farms. So a couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to one of the farms up in Brentwood, CA to pick fruit. Here in California, stone fruit are currently in full swing, they're literally falling of the trees with no one to pick them up (especially when I look with envy at some of the gardens here).
These trips to the orchards have taught me a couple of things, one, we need to get one of those little wagon/trolleys to haul our stuff while we walk across the orchard and two, both M and I need to consider picking up less fruit. Though, one great outcome of having too much fruit, is the chance for me to can stuff which is fun but I honestly just don't want to can gallons.
We came across so many different varieties of plums, apricots, including pluots, that I was tempted to indulge in every possible shape and color available. Each and everyone of these varieties had a different taste and texture that made each one special (yes, I tried everything). At first, I thought perhaps, I should use one type of fruit in the recipe, in the end I decided that why not just mix things them all up and have some fun!
I've made an apple brown betty redux before and this time I wanted to apply the same concept to the stone fruit we collected. I used oat bran for the base this time and flavored it with chai. This is my new summer breakfast pick-me-up and it's one of those easy recipes without any fuss. There just enough oat bran to balance the sweet and sour flavors of the stone fruit, I ate half of this directly from the pan but I also ended up topping some of it on top of plain Greek yogurt for a snack. Baking concentrates the flavors in the fruit so it's a burst of sweet and tart flavors against the background of the cardamom flavored chai oat bran.
chai stone fruit oat bran brown betty
yields: 2-4 servings
1 cup water
1 tablespoon black tea leaves (I used the Darjeeling variety)
1 1/2 lbs mixed stone fruit (I used plums, apricots, and pluots)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup (2 ounces) raw brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom seeds
1 cup (5 3/4 ounces) oat bran
1. Bring the water to a boil on a medium-high flame. Immediately add the tea leaves, allow to boil for 30 seconds and remove from the stove. Allow to sit aside for 2 minutes, pass the liquid through a strainer. Reserve the liquid, keep warm and discard the tea leaves.
2. Wash and wipe the stone fruit clean. Remove any stalks and slice each piece of fruit into half lengthwise. Remove the seed/stone in the center. Keep the fruit aside.
3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. In a square 9X9 baking pan, pour the warm tea prepared earlier. Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, cardamom and oat bran. Mix evenly with a fork or whisk. Place the stone fruit cut-side facing upwards over the oat bran mixture. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the oat bran is cooked. The stone fruit will brown a little. Once baked, cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
Note: I recommend tasting the raw fruit first, if you find the fruit too tart then add a little more sugar to sweeten things. You could also sprinkle a little sugar before baking over the fruit.