breakfast for the dreary

Do you know how very, terribly dreary Iowa winters are? They are cold and wet, especially now that temperatures have settled slightly above the freezing point (er, until Tuesday) and left us with freezing fog and icy rain — and they’re all the more cold for being wet. Also, gray. The sun peaks out for about two, weak hours, and this happens right before it sets. Around five o’clock.

The good news is that a month or two of this works as an inoculation against it. You get desensitized. The dreariness isn’t such a big deal, and mid-thirties temperatures even become grounds to wear skirts and flats. Imagine it!

But friends, mornings remain hard, and if I seem gastronomically fixated on the beginning of the day (yes, the fact that my recipes are subdivided into “breakfast” and “dessert” speaks to my lease on life) it’s because I wake up with Billy every morning at 7am. Gray hasn’t even started then, it’s still black out! And my most recent incentive to get up already and step into waiting robe and fuzzy slippers is this pear granola crisp.

I slosh some vanilla yogurt over a healthy bowl of this sunny stuff, and I’m good for a morning of interning, studying, or writing applications for more internships. Or searching for more recipes to make and, equally, photograph: that fancy new camera I got for Christmas isn’t going to learn on itself!

Pear Granola Crisp

(Adapted slightly from the smitten kitchen)


  • 1.5 pounds of pears (three or four actual pears), peeled, cored, and cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • a good squeeze of honey
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 c shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In an 8 x 8 baking dish, stir together pears, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and honey together. Add flour, oats, almonds, and shredded coconut. Stir together until clumps form. Spread evenly over the pear mixture.

Bake for about thirty minutes, checking five minutes before the timer dings. If the granola starts to brown before the pears have softened, put a sheet of aluminum foil over the dish. Let cool completely, and refrigerate for many happy mornings to come.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Al on January 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    What you said about winter is very true. “We come from people who brought us up to believe that life is a struggle, and if you should feel really happy, be patient: this will pass.” – Garrison Keillor.


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