Porridge divides our family. On the one side, mum adores it. On the other, my dad thinks it’s the foodstuff created by the devil (I’m really not exaggerating). As with plenty of other things, such as coffee versus tea or even rainbow trout, I sit firmly in the middle. I don’t love the stuff, but I don’t hate it either. A little bit of sugar, milk and a sprinkle of raisins is good enough for me, but I only eat porridge a couple of times a year, mostly in the winter.
That being said, I adore baked oatmeal. Why? Well, if you’ve never had baked oatmeal, you’re missing out, even if you despise it as much as my dad. Baked oatmeal is basically the child of a flapjack and a cake. Take a slice and warm it up in the microwave, add a bit of milk or even a bit of caramel sauce, and it’s probably one of my favourite sweet breakfasts (but not too sweet, cause that’s not my thing (unless we’re talking caramel, of course…)). On top of that, it’s super customisable; don’t like hazelnuts? What about almonds, pecans? And the plums? I love raspberries and blackberries in my baked oatmeal, but apple and pear slices are always a great substitute. Nutmeg and cinnamon could be swapped to cardamom or allspice — or even everybody’s seasonal favourite, pumpkin spice!
The handy thing with baked oatmeal, is that it’s delicious fresh out the oven, but it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. However, my favourite method when I’m making baked oatmeal for myself at university is to slice it up when it’s cold, wrap it in greaseproof paper and place in a container in the freezer. Then all I have to do is take out one slice in its paper, place it on a plate, defrost it in the fridge overnight and microwave it in the morning for a few minutes — tastes good as new (seriously)!
Makes about 6 large servings.
Adapted from here.
180g of plain oats
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of baking powder
pinch of salt
275ml of full fat or semi-skimmed milk (I find skimmed milk makes things taste sad and watery…)
60ml of maple syrup
30g of butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 to 4 small plums, sliced
50g of toasted & chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Grease an 8×8 inch square baking dish.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt and 25g of the hazelnuts.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, maple syrup, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix together until just combined.
Place half of the sliced plums in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Top with the oat mixture, and layer over the remaining plum slices. Sprinkle over the last of the hazelnuts.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until cooked through, and the top is golden brown in colour. Serve with a drizzle of milk, or for more sweetness, a bit more maple syrup. If kept in a airtight container in the fridge, it will keep well for a few days.