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GOOD COOKING

The Most Important Meal of the Weekend

November 02, 1995|ABBY MANDEL

Weekend breakfasts don't have to be formal brunch affairs. This morning menu is casual enough so that you can feel laid-back about inviting friends over. The idea is to play it cool and enjoy--not to worry about getting the house in perfect order.

The food is simple: a dried fruit compote freshened up with diced apples and grapes, puffy wheat bran-yogurt hot cakes with a hint of banana (the banana lightens and sweetens the batter) and warm fresh raspberry maple syrup. What more do you need? Brewed rich coffee or tea and maybe some bacon or sausage with the pancakes.

RASPBERRY-MAPLE SYRUP

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup strained fresh raspberry puree

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Combine maple syrup and raspberry puree. Can be done several days ahead and refrigerated.

To serve, gently warm and add raspberries. Barely heat through. Serve warm.

Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Each 1-tablespoon serving contains about:

22 calories; 1 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.14 gram fiber.

DRIED FRUIT WITH CRISPY APPLES AND RED GRAPES

1 (8-ounce) package dried mixed fruits

2 small tart red-skinned apples

1 cup firm red seedless grapes

2 cups orange juice

3 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

Using kitchen shears, snip dried fruits into pieces. Core apples and cut into 1/3-inch dice. Cut grapes into halves.

Combine dried fruit with orange juice and sugar in 2-quart non-reactive saucepan. Simmer, covered, until fruit is just tender but not mushy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Fold in apples. Remove from heat. Add water as needed if mixture is too thick. Cool. Stir in grapes.

Can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Before serving, stir well and add water as needed to loosen mixture. Serve chilled.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Each of 6 servings contains about:

143 calories; 2 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 1.47 grams fiber.

WHEAT BRAN-YOGURT HOT CAKES WITH BANANA

1 1/4 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 small ripe bananas

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup wheat bran

2 cups low-fat plain yogurt

Butter or cooking spray

Raspberry-Maple Syrup

These hot cakes are as delicious as they are wholesome. You'll find that they are best cooked slowly. Try some low-fat turkey or chicken sausage, well browned, on the side.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

In 2-quart bowl, mash bananas with fork. Add eggs, egg whites, melted butter and sugar and whisk until well mixed and fluffy. Spoon flour mixture into batter, then bran and yogurt. Don't over-mix, use rubber spatula to fold in very gently. Batter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered airtight. Use spatula again to gently mix (surface will be darkened from banana; that's OK).

Grease griddle and heat over medium heat until very warm, not hot. Use 1/4 cup batter for each cake. Spoon into neat rounds. Gently cook until bubbly on top, about 3 minutes. Turn and brown other side, about 3 minutes more. Keep cooked hot cakes warm in 200-degree oven while you cook remaining batter.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Each of 4 servings, without syrup, contains about:

392 calories; 481 mg sodium; 124 mg cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams protein; 1.43 grams fiber.

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