Muesli is the oxymoron of the patient/quickie food analogy.
I compiled it in about 30 seconds, but to prepare the ingredients took over five hours (and if I had chosen different fruit, my research tells me could have been hitting the eight hour mark).
From Scratch muesli sounds pretty easy then. And it is – you get a mixture of grains, in this case oats, and mix it with any nut you want and traditionally some raisins. Hey presto, a bowl of muesli fit to beat even those pesky Dorset people.
What a boring blog it makes though! Compile 5 ingredients and eat – the height of my culinary prowess.
All I can say is thank God for the raisin otherwise this blog would be retired to the back catalogue of things that should be read but aren’t. You would find it nestling amongst other greats of the philosophical world such as Beyond Good and Evil, Socratic Dialogues, and The Hungry Caterpillar (nobody reads the words; they just admire the pictures!)
Anyway let’s focus on the life saving raisin that is dragging us back from the brink of mundane to the precipices of culinary adventure where I firmly intend to stay from now on!
So in short I lied, this isn’t about muesli- muesli is the destination– but dried fruit provides the unforgettable journey towards our destination.
For once I decided to prepare properly and took the time to research. However this wasn’t particularly reassuring. I found some fearful descriptions that mentioned Dehydrating machines, asorbic acid and of course drying your fruit in the sun. None of these sounded like good options for me.
- I wasn’t going to fork out on a dehydration machine
- Dipping my fruit in ascorbic acid did not appeal, and seemed to oppose the From Scratch philosophy
- Let’s be realistic: despite our relatively warm October, an English autumn does not provide sufficient heat to Sun dry fruit!
However salvation came on a cloud of oven drying. Unfortunately even this wasn’t straight forward as there were a mixture of temperatures and methods given to me so I amalgamated and hoped for the best.
I thought I’d focus first on raisins, as these are essential in a good muesli, so bought a pack of red grapes and began my experimentation.
What you need…
A steamer/pan and colander
A sheet of greaseproof paper
- Preheat your oven to about 140C
- Wash and dry your grapes
- Cut bigger grapes in half so they do not take too much longer to dry
- Heat up some water in you steamer and steam the grapes for about 5mins
- Then plunge them into ice cold water
- Dry them off again and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper directly on your oven shelf
- Place in the oven for about 4 hours, you need to leave the door slightly open to let steam escape (I did this by wedging the door with a tea towel so it was slightly ajar)
- When they are done they should be dry but still pliable
- If you aren’t going to eat your raisins anytime soon, pasturize them by giving them another blitz in the oven at 150C for 10 mins
There you have it – dried fruit!
It’s quite satisfying to see them all come out, I found the grapes that were whole turned out better than the ones cut in half which is why I suggest trying to find smaller grapes. 🙂
It was one of the small pleasures in life knowing that heating a grape at a low temperature will turn into a raisin. That sounds stupid I know, but give it a try and I guarantee you will feel the same satisfaction.
Five hours cook time, 30 seconds prep time, but an unbelievably rewarding first mouthful.