Camp Toast With Maple Syrup Poached Fruit

Mt Lassen reflection

Mt. Lassen reflected in Summit Lake

Recently friends asked me to join them at Lassen Volcanic NP for a few days of camping. How could I say no. Lassen is one of my favorite places to camp and this time we would be at Summit Lake.

toast & fruit on camp stoveWe shared cooking meals so on one of my turns I made one of my favorite summer breakfast recipes, french toast with fresh fruit poached in Maple syrup.

nectarines & blueberries in syrup

The fruit, this time, was white nectarines and blueberries sauteed in a little butter then poached for just a little while in maple syrup.

french toast

The french toast was made by soaking a piece of whole grain, seeded bread in a mixture of one egg beaten with one-half egg shell of milk until the mixture is absorbed into the toast, then cooking it in a little olive oil and butter until it browns on each side. To test for doneness touch it with your finger, if it springs back, its done.

fruit and french toast

To serve pour the fruit and syrup mixture over the toast. Another tasty addition is to add a dollop of Greek yogurt and light sprinkling of cinnamon to the top of the fruit.

Another idea I have tried when cooking french toast at home is to use a Belgian style waffle maker. The toast cooks quicker and the holes contain the syrup. Actually I have grown to prefer french toast cooked this way. But, when camping a cook stove and a frying pan works just fine. Throw in some gorgeous scenery and you have the perfect camp breakfast.


The Power of Procrastination

Play-DohI’ve always said that a tight deadline can bring on some pretty creative ideas and for me procrastination is usually what creates the deadline. I’ve known I was going to a 4th of July potluck party today for about a week now but didn’t press myself to decided what to take until that tight deadline started showing it’s ugly head. OK, the deadline is here. “What are you going to take?” I ask myself. Well, I have lots of fruit that could be used in something. So I start thinking about the fruit, that leads to cobblers and then it hits me. What about the Berry and Peach Cobbler I make each year when I’m with my family at Packer Lake? “Perfect idea”, if I do say so myself. But instead of putting heart shaped pie crust pieces on top I’ll use stars. The problem is I don’t have a star cookie cutter. Or do I?

After fretting about the star cutter and wondering who I could borrow one from or where I could buy one on very short notice I remember where I might have one. So its off to my closet where some toys my grand children play with are stored to find the Play-Doh stuff and sure enough, there was a star cutter. Love it when it works out that way.

Berry and Peach Cobbler

Cookie cutter in hand. I’m back in the kitchen peeling peaches, mixing berries, sugar, lemon juice and tapioca. Now the fun part cutting stars from the pie dough (store bought this time but works just fine) and placing them on the fruit. A nice brushing of melted butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon and turbinado cane sugar and it’s into the oven and wait.

Here’s the final results and judging how incredible the house smelled this morning I can tell this is going to be a hit.

You can find the recipe for the Berry and Peach Cobbler here.



Every year, for the past sixteen years, I spend a week in a cabin in the Sierras. I call it my little heaven on earth. And, everyone who has come to stay with me during that week thinks so too. There is no cell phone reception, no TV, no internet. There is, however, the sounds of birds and chipmunks, of the wind singing through the pines, water lapping the lazy shoreline, and breathtaking views from the deck of the cabin.

About 10 years ago I started making this cobbler during the first weekend, when the cabin is packed with friends and family. Every year it is a little different depending on what kind of peaches or nectarines and berries I can find. And every year I make this large pan and it is gone in a little over a day (Did I mention that it is incredible for breakfast with a little yogurt on top?).

I hope that this weekend finds you with your family and/or friends and that you take time to enjoy the wonderful gifts that our lives bring us.

Peach and Berry Cobbler

4 ½ lbs peaches, fresh from the Farmers’ Market of course, peeled, pitted, and sliced (about 7) – sometimes I use nectarines and peaches

3 cups fresh berries such as blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries Many markets still have lots of fresh berries or if your lucky maybe you can pick your own.

1 cup sugar

¼ cup instant tapioca

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

Your favorite recipe for pie crust for 9″ pie

Preheat oven to 425°. Butter baking dish –I use a large aluminum roasting pan for this

Toss peaches, berries, sugar, tapioca, and lemon juice in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Transfer fruit mixture to prepared dish. Dot with butter.

Roll out pie crust. Spread thin layer of butter on crust; sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar, cut with cookie cutter into shapes, and place on top of cobbler. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and fruit bubbles. Serve cobbler warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.