I am a list person, a list person of epic proportions. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard about this trait, I know, and it likely won’t be the last. My list making obsession has become even more intense as of late as my life has spun into chaotic mode once again. I may have even proudly posted one of my completed “to do” lists to Facebook last Sunday. And yes, I did instragram it. (I know you all were wondering.)
Naturally, when I took today off from work to make a long overdue trip to the doctor’s office, I also wrote myself a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to do list. At the top of my Friday list was baking this oatmeal.
My mom introduced this recipe to me over the summer after picking up Heidi Swanson’s latest cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, from the library. She made it. We ate it. The verdict: ok. Then the next morning rolled around. We heated slices up in the microwave. Drizzled some maple syrup on top. Grabbed forks. Ate it again. Verdict number 2: I think I’ll have just one more slice.
Overnight the oats had taken on a firm, but chewy texture and the butter magically shone through. The tartness of the blueberries paired flawlessly with the sweetness of the syrup and the bananas, oh the bananas. I had anticipated a kind of slimy texture because, really, bananas can be kind of slimy, especially when they’re baked. Instead, I would describe them as almost melting into the oatmeal giving it a unique smoothness. Flavor wise, they added a hint of tropicalness that reminded me of my adventures in Central America and my recent trip to the Dominican. On a cold, snowy day in mid-April (No, I did not make a mistake. It was in fact snowing today and it is actually April.), baked oatmeal was exactly what I needed.
I actually like this recipe better the next day. I recommend making this the day before and, once cooled, sticking it in the fridge. The next morning, cut yourself a slice and toss it in the microwave or oven. Drizzle a touch more maple syrup over the top and dive in. The dish lasts in the fridge for about a week, so if you’re just feeding yourself, you now have breakfast for the week!
Serves 6 generously, or 12 as part of a large brunch spread
2 cups / 7 oz / 200 g rolled oats
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g walnut pieces, toasted (see page 219) and chopped
1/3 cup / 2 oz / 60 g natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups / 475 ml milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch / 1 cm pieces
1 1/2 cups / 6.5 oz / 185 g huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries
Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch / 20cm square baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.
Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the counter top to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter.