Like most kids, I had fantasies of being an astronaut when I grew up, but for me, the excitement wasn’t about blasting off in a rocket, it wasn’t even about the spacewalks or weightlessness. I wanted to be a astronaut so I could eat freeze dried food all day! Those shiny foil pouches of tri-coloured ice cream and freeze dried peaches had me hooked as a kid and it was impossible for my parents to take me to a science museum without a detour into the museum store to pick up a package. Yep, my obsession with food started young… very young…
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Just Tomatoes, a purveyor in all things freeze dried, which promptly brought me back to my formative years. Before I knew it, I had my credit card out and had ordered 5 types of fruit: peaches, green apples, apricots, strawberries and mangoes. I didn’t have a clue what I’d do with them, but who could resist the promise of fruit with all the vitamins, color and flavor of raw fruit with the texture of crisp meringue?
I like having variety in my life, and rarely make the same dish twice. Breakfast is a different story though, and I typically opt for convenience over variation. Since I posted about it in October, I’ve been making big batches of Cherry Vanilla granola every few weeks and while it’s the best granola I’ve ever had, it was time for a change.
With a whole stack of freeze dried fruit staring at me, and 2 shriveled passion fruits nearing the end of their useful life in the fruit bowl, the idea for this granola came together pretty quickly. While many packaged cereals have started adding freeze dried fruit, none that I’m aware of actually flavour the cereal itself. Not happy with the status quo, I decided to infuse the granola itself with some tropical goodness.
To get the maximum saturation of flavour, I simply powderized the freeze dried fruit in a food processor before adding it to the oats along with the fresh passion fruit pulp. Then for some texture and extra flavour, I added whole pieces of freeze dried peaches after the granola had cooled.
1/2 C freeze dried mangoes
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick cook oats)
1/2 C macadamia nuts or almonds
1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 C agave nectar
2 Tbs butter (or canola oil if you want to go vegan)
2 passion fruits
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C freeze dried peach
Move oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Put the freeze dried mangoes into the work bowl of a food processor or blender and powderize. Add to a mixing bowl along with the oats, macadamia nuts, coconut, and dark brown sugar. Mix well to combine.
Melt the butter in a separate bowl then scrape the pulp and seeds from the passion fruit into the melted butter along with the vanilla and whisk to combine. Drizzle this mixture over the granola and stir until all the oats look slightly wet and the ingredients are well distributed.
Pour onto a baking sheet and spread around evenly. Put the sheet in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown. You may want to mix the granola about half way through for even browning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
Toss the cooled granola with the freeze dried peaches. The granola can be stored in an air tight container or Ziploc bag for up to 2 weeks.