Eleven Madison Park Pistachio, Coconut & Dried Sour Cherry Granola Recipe
Granola. It’s probably one of my favourite snacks. It’s not for health conscious reasons, and not all are even healthy with all the added sugars, but I just really like it and always have. I love nutty things and crispy crunchy textures and I can eat granola at any time. It’s also convenient when I’m traveling and it’s a perfect snack on the plane.
The first time I tried the Eleven Madison Park granola was actually at my friend Brenda’s place. I wasn’t aware that she was using the Eleven Madison Park recipe and didn’t even make the connection when I had it at the restaurant a couple months later. It’s the parting gift at the end of dinner and if they had it for sale I would have bought a few jars. The granola here is one of my favourites to date, next to the one I had at Aziza in San Francisco.
It’s noticeably saltier than most and the dried fruits are good quality and not hard or dry. The version I had wasn’t with dried sour cherries, coconut or pistachios, but the technique to make it was the same. It’s very light, loose and crisp without the big crunchy chunks, which I usually love, but in this case I didn’t miss them one bit.
Making granola is easy and I know you might think “it’s just granola”, but if this one was good enough to re-make and post about, it must be really good – and it was!
The following is a guest post, recipe and photos by Brenda.
Eleven Madison Park was on my restaurant list long before I had ever visited New York last fall. It’s been getting positive press, awards and accolades ever since restaurateur Danny Meyer opened it in 1998 but its star really began to rise when Chef Daniel Humm took over the kitchens in 2006 and it received four stars from the New York Times several years later in 2009. A gorgeous namesake cookbook was published in 2011 and its modern layout, photography, and attention to detail reminded me of my first impressions of the French Laundry Cookbook back when it was published in 1999.
Chicken Poached with Black Truffles, Asparagus, Morels and Vin Jaune
– Eleven Madison Park cookbook
Just as the French Laundry cookbook has a very doable family meal lasagna recipe and a homestyle apple cake recipe, the Eleven Madison Park cookbook also has an approachable recipe that evokes warm, generosity and hospitality.
It’s a recipe for granola. Yes, granola. At the end of every meal at the Eleven Madison Park restaurant, a meal which consists of over a dozen courses from a fixed tasting menu, they give their guests a parting gift of a jar of housemade granola. I had known about the granola from researching the restaurant prior to my trip and the recipe is available online on the New York Times’ website as well as in the cookbook. However, it wasn’t until after my incredible meal at the restaurant and after I had tried their granola that I was compelled to make it myself. Apparently there’s granola, and then there’s Eleven Madison Park granola. In hindsight I shouldn’t have been surprised that my favourite to date was theirs. So much so that I make this recipe at least once a month and often more, especially when I’m making it as gifts for other people.
The granola is a contrast of textures and flavours: the crunchy, sweet, salty, nutty, fruity, tart and savoury aspects come from coconut, olive oil, maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, pistachio seeds, sour cherries, and salt. The nuts and cherries are left whole so that each bite is slightly different and keeps you going back for more. It’s ridiculously addictive and my favourite way to eat it is straight from the jar. I always have a jar of it on the counter at home and it’s all too easy to grab a handful every time I walk by.
Making the granola is very simple and straightforward: the sour cherries are set aside until the end, the sugars and olive oil are heated together, the rest of the ingredients are mixed together before being combined with the sugars/olive oil and then baked, finally the cherries are added last. Eleven Madison Park’s recipe called for 1 Tbsp of salt which sounded like a lot so I decreased it to 2 tsp and that was enough to season the batch and still have the salty sweet flavour. (There are numerous online comments about the salt level in the recipe. Many people decrease the amount even further.) The published recipe also says that the yield is 6 cups but I’ve been consistently getting ~8 cups – definitely not a bad thing!
The cookbook also has recipes for Curry Granola and Vandouvan Granola that sound very intriguing. Previously I’d never been very excited about granola recipes (actually theirs is the first one that I’ve made) but the Eleven Madison Park granola and cookbook have given me a few ideas for how I might experiment with variations on my own.
Eleven Madison Park Pistachio, Coconut & Cherry Granola Recipe
Makes ~8 cups
- 315g (2 ¾ cups) rolled oats
- 150g (1 cup) whole shelled pistachios
- 100g (1 cup) unsweetened coconut chips or unsweetened shredded coconut
- 60g (⅓ cup) pumpkin seeds
- 6g (2 tsp) kosher salt
- 75g (½ cup) light brown sugar, dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 100g (⅓ cup) good quality maple syrup
- 67g (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 125g (3⁄4 cup) dried sour cherries
Notes for success
- Use a good quality olive oil; it adds a rich savoury flavour that is missing from other oils. (I’ve tried making the recipe with grapeseed oil but it was too neutral in flavour and the granola was not as good.)
- Add salt to the dry ingredients, not to the oil/sugar mixture. The salt will fade too much if it’s dissolved with the liquids and the granola will end up tasting blander.
- The granola may still be a little sticky at 35 minutes but it will dry and harden as it cools.
- Larger coconut chips will make a slightly clumpier granola whereas shredded coconut makes the granola looser and very crispy-crunchy.
- Eleven Madison Park bakes their granola to a pale golden brown but I prefer a more caramelized flavour so I bake it until it is a medium golden brown colour. Dark brown sugar and coconut sugar also make a more caramelized granola.
- The recipe can be made with different types of sugar depending on your taste preference. Coconut sugar works very well as it adds a caramelized nutty sweetness and enhances the flavour of the coconut chips.
- In instances where I did not have enough pistachios on hand, roughly chopped whole almonds were a very good substitute – almonds and cherries is a classic flavour combination.
- Other ingredients can be added to customize it to your tastes. I like to add 80g (½ cup) of flax seeds to the dry mixture before the liquids are added. A friend recommended adding chia seeds.
- The VacMaster VP112 can be used with the jar attachment to vacuum seal the granola into canning jars for storing and giving as gifts.
- Heat the oven to 300F.
Mise en place
- Set the sour cherries aside. They will be added to the rest of the ingredients after the granola has been baked.
- Place the the oats, pistachios, coconut, pumpkin seeds and salt in a large mixing bowl that is roomy enough to hold them plus extra room for stirring. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together so that the salt is evenly distributed.
Sour cherries, dry mixture, liquid mixture
- In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the sugar, maple syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
Sour cherries, granola before baking
- Fold the liquid mixture into the dry mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well. Taste the mixture and add additional salt if necessary.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet (such as a half sheet pan) with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and spread the granola evenly over it.
- Bake the granola until it is dry and lightly golden, about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes.
Granola after baking, with sour cherries
- Remove granola from oven, and mix in the dried sour cherries.
- Allow the granola cool to room temperature before transferring it to a storage container.