BLOOMBERG – On America’s most food-obsessed day of the year, Thanksgiving, there’s one meal that’s woefully overlooked, and that’s breakfast.
The meal that starts off the mania is invariably an afterthought, a rushed-through hodgepodge of what might be found in the fridge when all the eggs and butter have been reserved for stuffings and pie. And then there’s Friday, after the big day, and all the holiday days after that, when cooking burnout has descended.
To the rescue this year: Dessert. Specifically, a trifle that riffs on the classic, layered British treat, with breakfast ingredients that are-gasp-even a bit healthy.
Breakfast trifle is the brainchild of Nadiya Hussain, known to fans of The Great British Bake Off as the winner of Season 6, thanks to her monumental My Big Fat British Wedding Cake.
Her 2020 Netflix show, Nadiya’s Time to Eat, is less focussed on magnificent desserts than on time-smart ways to create meals from firsthand experience as a mother of three.
In addition to being an entertaining on-screen presence, Hussain is one of the few woman of colour who has a cooking show – no small thing in the year of rising social conscience that even brought a reckoning at the immensely popular Bon Appétit Test Kitchen.
Her new book, Time to Eat: Delicious Delicious Meals for Busy Lives comes as a companion to the Netflix series. It’s a straightforward manual; the introductory text is mainly a list of rules that include “canned, frozen and dry are not bad words”, (such products save time and money) and “don’t throw anything away”. (Assuming “it’s not poisonous”, she wrote, there’s always a place for it.)
Hussain’s book includes left-of-centre recipes such as Bengali Bangers and Hash Smash, a mix of frozen hash browns and sausages, which she said she never tried them until she was 24 and finally found halal ones.
Great British Bake Off fans will also find a few cakes, including the show-offish Swedish Prinsesstårta.
Hussain has an aptitude for making breakfast fun. The book offers a method for a peanut butter and jelly pancake: pancake ingredients baked in a pan to minimise tedious flipping at the stove.
Her trifle is even more delightful. “Trifle is my dad’s favourite dessert,” said Hussain.
“It’s great because it’s really simple to put together. You can make it ahead and leave it in the fridge, which saves time.”
For the soft pudding component, Hussain mixes high protein chia seeds with yoghurt, honey, and a bit of cinnamon for warm, fall flavour.
She then combines frozen summer fruit with a little sugar; as the stone fruit chunks and berries defrost, they give off juices that will infuse tender brioche that replaces the standard cake slices.
She throws in granola for a satisfying textural crunch.
The dish’s crowning achievement is a garnish of whipped cream, straight from the can.
The result is a yoghurt parfait that manages to feel both healthy and indulgent, depending on which bite you’re taking in.
As Hussain proclaims in her book, “trifle is not just a dessert”.
If it doesn’t replace a centrepiece bird or cherished pie as the most talked-about dish of the day, this trifle can certainly give either of them a run for the money.
And it can also proudly stand as a highlight in any of the dreary days that inevitably follow-a highly functional, quick-to-make, impressive-to-serve dish that can keep bored family members well fed and entertained as the holidays roll on.
Hussain has family in America, and will be keeping tabs on their Thanksgiving.
“I am always engrossed by their social media posts,” she said. “And always looking out for what they are eating and how they are celebrating.”
Two cups plain Greek yoghurt
2/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup honey, plus more to taste
Two tsp ground cinnamon
1 and 3/4 cups frozen summer fruits such as peaches and berries
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Finely grated zest of one small orange
Six oz brioche slices (about six, or half a loaf ripped into large pieces)
1 and 1/2 cups favourite granola
Whipped cream, from a can
Start by making the chia seed yoghurt, so it can thicken: In a bowl, mix the yoghurt, chia seeds, honey, and cinnamon. Taste. Add more honey, if desired.
In a bowl, combine the frozen fruit with the confectioners’ sugar and orange zest, and let the fruit fully defrost, about 30 minutes.
Drain off the excess juice into a bowl and reserve. Place the defrosted fruit in a serving bowl, preferably glass. Mix the brioche pieces with the granola. Spread in a layer on top of the fruit, and drizzle the reserved fruit juice over this layer. Spoon the chia yoghurt on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled (it can be made the night before if kept refrigerated). Top with whipped cream before serving.