I love weekend brunch. It’s my favourite meal to host, but so too is sitting down to a latte bowl made by someone else at a tiny gem in your own city. Hitting the Toronto brunch scene used to be a rare thing for us. You try hauling teenagers out of bed on a weekend morning, let alone waiting for them to get dressed and ready for a family outing. Now the Friendly Greek and I play tourist in our own town and smile as we ask “table for two, please.” Bonjour Brioche takes no reservations and lineups are a bitch on a damp March Sunday morning. Still, the staff do what they can to move that lineup quickly and we are soon seated in a cheery spot and I’ve got a glass that pops sunshine in front of me.
Mango tangerine juice for me and pomegranate mimosas for him. No, only me giving up booze for Lent. No fun
ever on outings like these.
Eggs Benny here is served on a croissant, and a Croque Madame is made on their delicious brioche. But surely the fireworks are the tarts, shown off on a tray like shiny jewels.
Some people see this sweet tray and say “one of each, please”. Others demur politely and go back to sipping that massive latte bowl. As for this hobbyist, I get the baking urge and file it. Tomorrow, I’m going to attempt a French tart as sexy as these.
Alas-beautiful tarts are finicky wonders, and besides, distraction awaits on the urban colour hunt.
Still, it was still raining when we came home and I had the baking urge. Remember Mango Mama? This is the time to stamp out winter grey, and a crisp is a quick fix.
Make your own Monday snap with some tropical fruit in a crunchy coconut topping.
Adapted from the wonderful Jenny McCoy
What you need:
- 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and pitted. I used the Palmer variety, now available at most fruit grocers.
- ½ ripe pineapple, peeled and cored
- 1½ cups panko bread crumbs
- 1½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- juice of ½ lemon
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cut fruit into very thin slices. The key here is to use ripened fruit but not overly ripe or your mixture will just become mush.
- In large bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, coconut, brown sugar, sea salt, and cinnamon. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir until combined.
- Divide mixture in two. Spread one half over bottom of 8-inch square baking pan or gratin dish.
- Arrange overlapping fruit slices over the crumb mixture. Drizzle lemon juice over fruit.
- Spread remaining half of crumb mixture over fruit and cover with foil. Place dish on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until top is toasted and golden brown.
Serve warm with a tiny scoop of mango gelato or vanilla bean ice cream.
Or dump it all into a parfait glass.
What are your end of season habits? I’m ditching all the winter woolies and hats into a big bin and bringing spring scarves out. Yup, I’m one of the crazy scarf people. You knew it all along.
Happy Birthday Elton John!. He just turned seventy and had a bash over the weekend. Guess who showed up? Recovering from a brain aneurysm, my girl Joni Mitchell showed up in a wheelchair. That, friends, is what you call a birthday guest.