Hello, and welcome to the first recipe in my new column, But First, Breakfast! I've been thinking about the idea for this series for a long time, probably ever since I started touring to promote my breakfast cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings, and readers told me how much they longed for really simple weekday breakfast ideas.
This series is about real-world, make-ahead breakfasts that you can actually fit into your busy, everyday life. These recipes are either quick enough to conquer on an average weekday morning or, as is the case with today's baklava parfaits, can be prepped in advance on a weekend or a quiet weeknight (do these even exist anymore?). I promise these recipes will be more exciting than a container of yogurt or an energy bar, but will feel just as easy. So let's get this thing started, shall we?
My husband is Lebanese and one of the first bakeries we visited on our honeymoon in Morocco had honey-laden sweets at every turn. I was mesmerized, never wanting to leave. I hadn't realized there were so many varieties of baklava, or so many different ways to work toasty almonds, walnuts, and pistachios into buttery, honey-drenched sweets. I started making excuses for why the bakery sweets were perfectly fine to eat at any time of day (nuts are protein, right?).
When we returned home, I tried to recreate many of the dishes we sampled in our travels. But those nutty, buttery flavors proved elusive ... until now.
When I sat down to think about how to work these flavors into a breakfast recipe, the obvious choice was a parfait. I love a rich, creamy yogurt, and could stir in a bit of good honey. I could top that with toasty pistachios, soft dates, and some sort of a buttery, crumble topping. But could it be made feasible for a weekday breakfast? Oh, yes.
Make the Honeyed Crumble topping for these parfaits on a weekend afternoon or evening when you have a little extra time. It is far from difficult (simply brush phyllo dough with honey, oil, and a few spices, and bake), but it does take about 10 minutes in the oven and another 15 or so to cool completely. It will last about 4 days in a covered container on the counter, so if you bake this off at the beginning of the week, you can look forward to colorful honey-kissed parfaits all week.
Before we dive into the recipe, let's talk about yogurt for a second. I call for plain full-fat yogurt here because that's what I prefer. A lot of the low-fat or non-fat yogurts actually have more sugar, and I try to make small moves at the grocery store to limit our sugar intake. Plus, to be honest, I love the rich flavor of full-fat yogurt. If you're going to splurge one time, I'd say these parfaits are a good reason. You'll notice the difference. That being said, certainly use whatever makes you the happiest.
The really good news: This recipe yields more Honeyed Crumble than you'll actually need. I have not had a problem finding excellent uses for it around our house. It's wonderful as is with afternoon tea (I grab little pinches of it as I pass through the kitchen). It's also killer on top of vanilla ice cream, and it makes a decadent oatmeal or smoothie topping. I could go on. I hope you love it, and them, as much as I did. I'll see you back here soon.
Baklava Breakfast Parfait
For the Honeyed Crumble:
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the parfaits:
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons honey, plus more to top (optional)
1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates (Medjool or Barhi are nice for their soft consistency)
Make the Honey Crumble ahead: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or a baking mat. Whisk together honey, melted butter, cardamom, ginger, and salt.
Lay 2 sheets of phyllo dough onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with honey mixture. Lay 2 additional sheets of dough on top of the first and repeat. Lay the final sheets of phyllo on top of the stack and brush with remaining mixture.
Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Halfway through, rotate the sheet to ensure they bake evenly. Allow to cool completely, then use your hands to break apart into fine shreds. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Assemble the parfaits just before eating: In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and yogurt and set aside. Select 4 of your favorite 8-ounce glasses or cups and scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons yogurt into the bottom. Top with a sprinkling of Honeyed Crumble, 1 teaspoon pistachios, and 1 teaspoon chopped dates. Repeat two additional layers. Sprinkle an additional pinch of Honeyed Crumble on top and serve immediately.
- If kept airtight and sealed at room temperature, the Honeyed Crumble will stay fresh for 4 days, so feel free to make it in advance and put these parfaits together as you'd like throughout the week.
- If your honey has crystallized and is in more of a solid form, microwave it for a few seconds to loosen it up before trying to stir it into your yogurt.