Switzerland: Spontaneous Cuisine: Fresh fruit croûte
Cheese Croûtes, a Perfect Winter Snack
Anyone who’s every traveled or skied in Switzerland knows we love croûte. Every ski station restaurant offers a wide range of croûtes. But what exactly is a croûte, you might ask.
Literally, the word means “crust,” but in practice the dish is usually made with day-old bread, onto which a wide array of foodstuff can be placed. The classic croûtes are layers of toasted bread in a shallow baking dish, covered with any combination of ham, bacon, egg, cheese, tomatoes, etc., but never leaving out the cheese.
For these savory dishes, the bread is cut into slices about 1 cm thick and placed in a buttered shallow baking dish. The bread is browned on both sides in the oven, and then slightly dampened with a little white wine or water. Thin slices of a fatty, hard cheese, such as Gruyère or Emmental, are then distributed evenly over the toast, pepper is added (and other ingredients if desired), and the composition is popped back into the oven until the cheese melts and turns brown.
Because of the oven and the hot cheese, winter croûtes are certainly not appropriate for getting your kids in the kitchen, so I’ve come up with this summer version.
Kids in the Kitchen
Fresh Fruit Croûte
- Butter some day-old, medium-thick slices of chunky whole grain bread. Distribute slices in a pie pan and brown in the oven.
- Remove from oven.
- Depending on the fruit you’re using, slice it into bite-size pieces and put it into a mixing bowl. Add a few drops of water or lemon juice. Add sugar to taste and a little cinnamon (optional) or fresh mint (optional). Mix well.
- Let set for 10 to 15 minutes until fruit starts to render its juices.
- Spread fruit over toasted bread.
- Put back in oven just long enough for sugar to start to melt and juices to start dripping into the bread.
- In August, we have loads of strawberries and raspberries in Switzerland. Because they’re soft, they’re perfect for this dish, but any fruit will do.
- Add whipped or fresh cream if you like. Serve warm.
Et voilà, a healthy, easy dessert your child can cook right alongside you!