Healthy Granola, Homemade Yogurt and Fresh Berry Parfaits

Our monastery houses a dairy with two lovely Guernsey cows. We often have a surplus of milk, so one great thing we’ve learned how to do (with relatively little work or energy) is to make “crock pot yogurt.” I read about it, but didn’t really believe it would work until I actually tried it. It’s fabulous, easy, inexpensive to make, and tastes better than store-bought yogurt! We also make our own granola — you can purchase that through our gift shop, Priory Books and Gifts, or make your own. I’m not allowed to divulge our secret granola recipe, but will share one that I like equally as well. This breakfast dish is one we serve regularly to our guests at Bethany or those who come on retreat. Since we make our own yogurt, granola and jam, it really is a signature “home grown” go-to breakfast. You can easily make it yourself for a quick and healthy breakfast that’s full of protein.

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Granola, Yogurt and Berry Parfaits
SERVINGS
4parfaits
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
parfaits
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
15mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a glass or parfait dish, layer in the following order: 1/4 cup granola, 1/3 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup of mixed berries, 2 Tbsp warmed jam
  2. Repeat Layers

Swiss Omelet Roll with Mustard Sauce

Here at the Convent we love to give attention to birthdays, be they big or little. Last week I had a very BIG one (85!) and it was celebrated in a very big way, especially featuring an abundance of beautiful spring flowers and fabulous food — two of my main passions.

The day was launched with an outstanding brunch including many of the old favorites I’d used over the years for guests, retreats and special events. This Swiss Omelet Roll was a specialty that brought back many memories, and made for much meaningful conversation as we re-lived the occasions when it was served.

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Swiss Omelet Roll with Mustard Sauce
SERVINGS
6-8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
65minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Omelet:
  1. Combine mayonnaise and flour.
  2. Gradually add milk and beaten egg yolks; cook, stirring constantly over low heat until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes.
  4. Fold mayonnaise mixture and seasonings into stiffly beaten egg whites.
  5. Pour into 15 ½" x 10 ½" jelly roll pan lined with wax paper, brushed with mayonnaise.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  7. Invert pan on towel; carefully remove wax paper.
  8. Cover with combined ham, cheese, and green onion.
  9. Roll from narrow end, lifting with towel while rolling.
Sauce:
  1. Combine sauce ingredients; mix well.
  2. Serve omelet seam down; top with mustard sauce.
  3. Garnish with watercress (or parsley) and tomato slices.

Blend of the Best Granola

Over the years, both the Sisters and Brothers have developed and sold granola at Priory Books & Gifts and through Paraclete Press. We are both proud of our two very different recipes. The Brothers’ granola is chock full of dried fruits and nuts and flavored with maple to add just that little New England touch. The Sisters’ granola is very simple and sweetened with honey and cinnamon. We like to think of ours as the healthier option! We’ve been running a little secret competition on the side to see whose granola is more popular, and we respectfully concede to the Brothers, who have won — hands down!

Even though I’m not at liberty to give away our secret recipes, I have adapted my own that is what I call a “blend of the best” – a combo of the two. Sprinkled over our homemade yogurt and garnished with fresh fruit, this has become one of our signature breakfast menus at Bethany. A terrific way to start your day!

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Blend of the Best Granola
SERVINGS
18cups
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cups
COOK TIME
1 hour, 15 minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
4hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter and add the honey, agave (or substitute 1 c. Karo Syrup for both of these) and vanilla extract.
  3. Add this mixture to the oat mixture and blend well.
  4. Spread the granola mixture on two cookie sheet pans lined with parchment.
  5. Bake in a 275 oven for 1 hr. and 15 min.
  6. Turn the oven off and leave granola in for a couple more hours or even overnight to dry out.
  7. Remove from the oven, break up the granola and add any additional dried fruits.
  8. Store in an airtight container, for up to 6 weeks. Enjoy!

Fresh Fig, Walnut and Mascarpone Tart

When I was a child, there was a peacock that used to strut through the back yard of my great-grandmother’s house. He would time his performance perfectly; as soon as all of us were gathered at the window, he would throw his head back, arch his feathers into a magnificent fan, and do a little pirouette as graceful as a king. It is like this with figs — they must be showcased.

I can’t pass up a fresh fig in a grocery store, especially when I’m doing holiday baking. Our local grocer had a nice selection of figs this past week, and I thought they would make a handsome and tasty dessert for a holiday luncheon we were preparing. Flamboyant as they are with their velvety exterior and intricate, seed-filled interior, they beg to be shown off.

The marriage of figs, mascarpone, and walnuts makes a fabulous winter dessert, and I would recommend this one for any dinner party. You can make the tart shells ahead and freeze them. When you are ready to use them, fill them while still frozen, and they will thaw in time for dessert. Since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, they should be purchased only a day or two in advance of your meal. Look for figs that have a rich, deep color, and are plump and tender, but not mushy.

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Fresh Fig, Walnut and Mascarpone Tart
SERVINGS
6individual, or a 10" round tart pan
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
individual, or a 10" round tart pan
COOK TIME
15 minutes
PREP TIME
15 minutes
READY IN
30-35minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Crust
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy for 3 minutes, using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, scraping down the sides and bottom occasionally. Add the flour and mix on low speed until fully incorporated, about one minute (don’t over mix). Add the egg yolk and continue to mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
  2. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour (or up to 4 days).
  3. Remove from refrigerator and let soften until pliable. Flour your work surface so dough does not stick, and sprinkle the top of dough with a little flour. Roll out dough, starting in middle and rolling outward, to a 1/4 inch thick disk or rectangle, depending on your tart pan.
  4. Don’t worry if dough tears or crumbles, it’s easily pressed together in the tart pan. Lift over the rolling pin and place in tart pan with removable bottom. Patch holes or tears by pressing dough with fingers. Press dough into sides, corners and bottom. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart pin for a clean even edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes -this is important.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30 -35 minutes, positioned in the center of the oven, until golden. Be sure to keep a careful eye so that it doesn’t over cook. If using individual tart pans, these will take about 12 min. to bake. Let cool before filling.
  6. While these are baking, spread your walnuts onto a sheet pan and toast in the oven – once you smell them, remove them, they will be done!
Filling
  1. Put the jam in a microwaveable bowl, and heat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds until the jam is of a more spreadable consistency. Add the brandy, a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Spread this over the bottom of the tart shell (s) but not up the sides. Let cool.
  2. In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, whisk together the mascarpone, whipping cream, vanilla, powdered sugar and salt until soft peaks form. Be careful, especially if you are using an electric mixer, because the mixture will thicken very quickly.
  3. Spread this mixture over the fig jam leaving about 1/4 “ of space of the jam showing on the edges, so not completely covering the jam base.
  4. Decorate the top w/ some toasted walnuts mounded in the center, a couple of quartered figs and right before serving, drizzle with some light honey.

If making ahead, have your components ready but don’t assemble until close to serving time.

Ginger Pumpkin Custard

Tis the season of the Great Pumpkin! Beginning with Halloween when he takes center stage and captures everyone’s attention right on through to Thanksgiving when he’s sure to appear in and around the traditional holiday dinner and anytime in between. This “jolly good fellow” can make an unexpected appearance in any number of interesting and enticing ways, not the least of which is in this  luscious ginger pumpkin custard.
When this happens he will once again have succeeded in stealing the show, by enhancing a dinner or lovely dessert buffet.
Milder in flavor and less dense than the traditional pumpkin pie this dessert will surprise and please the eater with its unexpected addition of candied ginger – lifting it out of the ordinary into the extraordinary!

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Ginger Pumpkin Custard
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
35minutes
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
50minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and fresh ginger until blended. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk, milk, vanilla and salt until blended.
  2. Pour into 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Place custard cups in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Place dish on oven rack in center of oven. Pour boiling water into pan around custard cups to a depth of 1 1/4 inches.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until centers are almost set. Remove custard cups from baking dish and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cold. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon and candied ginger just before serving.

Creamy Mascarpone Crepes

We are very blessed to have our own peach trees which yield an abundance of beautiful fruit……However, we never have too many. Whether eaten fresh and raw, or grilled, or in pies, cobblers jams or chutneys we never seem to tire of them, nor do our guest and retreatants.  We love to surprise them with an unexpected breakfast of our mascarpone crepes embellished with a generous serving of fresh sliced peaches laced with fresh raspberry puree. The smiles on their faces as they savor each bite are as beautiful to behold as is the dish itself.

These creamy filled crepes are fun to make, beautiful ,to look at, and luscious to eat. One tip……..make a lot!

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Creamy Mascarpone Crepes
SERVINGS
2dozen
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen
COOK TIME
45mins
PREP TIME
5mins
READY IN
50mins

Ingredients

Instructions

Crepes
  1. Blend all ingredients for 30 seconds, scrape sides of blender; blend 30 seconds more. Refrigerate batter for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Brush a 6 ½ - 7 inch crepe pan or non-stick pan with oil. Heat on medium until just starting to smoke.
  3. Set pan off heat and quickly pour 2 Tablespoons batter into middle of pan. Quickly tilt pan in all directions, until the entire bottom is covered in a thin layer.
  4. Return pan to heat for about 1 minute. Jerk the pan back and forth to loosen and flip over when the underside is nicely golden brown. Cook 30 seconds more or when there are brown spots.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter.
Crepe Filling
  1. Whisk together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.
Raspberry Sauce
  1. Crush berries, add sugar till dissolved. Add Amaretto and mix thoroughly.
  2. Place ½ cup filling one each crepe. Roll up and top with fresh peaches and raspberry sauce.