November 11, 2011

Chai Pumpkin Breakfast Brûlée

Chai Pumpkin Breakfast Brûlée 
All my creative energy has gone into my work lately; launching new projects, hiring new staff, assuming new responsibilities. I love every minute of it, but often my days end with the feeling that my head will explode if one more thought has to be shoe-horned into it. My cooking has fallen into the comfort of old family favorites, the kind that can be made with your hands tied behind your back and in a brain dead state. Creative cooking? Writing? No sir.

Happily, though, even when domestic creativity is frizzled, I often have 3 a.m. Saturday morning dream inspirations about one of my most favorite meals of all, Saturday morning breakfast. It happened last Saturday. Breakfast thoughts swirled into my dreams and I woke with an idea.

Chai spices, homemade pumpkin puree, whole grains, and a blast from the torch. A very special breakfast in spite of my waking-hour creative doldrums.

Warming and filling and sweet. Perfect for a crisp autumn morning, and a special treat for visiting holiday house guests.

Chai Pumpkin Breakfast Brûlée 

Chai Spices
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

Whole Grain Chai Pumpkin Cereal
(I used Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Cereal which happens to be gluten free and is terrific. Any other hot cereal such as cream of wheat, 9-grain, oats, etc. may be used, adapting proportions to package recommendations.)
For each serving:
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Cereal
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar (brown, demerara, or white may be used)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon Chai spice mixture
pinch of salt
1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Add cereal to salted boiling water in small saucepan. Add sugar and Chai spices. Cook according to package directions. About 2 minutes before it is done, stir in pumpkin puree. Stir frequently until grains are fully cooked.

Spoon cooked pumpkin cereal into 5" brulee dishes and smooth top with small offset spatula. Sprinkle sugar evenly and somewhat heavily over tops. Using your kitchen torch, carefully and evenly melt sugar, allowing it to crisp into a crackly, crunching top. Serve immediately with strong hot coffee.

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