The spring weather that is visiting Vancouver sure is intoxicating. Cherry, magnolia and forsythia are just a few of the flowering trees that are in full bloom right now making a canopy of gorgeous blooms that seem to trail you wherever you turn. There’s also been all kinds of cute, fat chirping robins in the branches outside our windows and lots of sunshine to boost spirits. I’ve been cooking and baking up a storm these last few weeks, but there’s little evidence of that here. I haven’t been able to find my rhythm on these pixel pages. Maybe my mind is stuck in the blossoms or my thoughts are buried with ideas and I’m finding it difficult to get direction amid all the chaos. But this past easter weekend I made this baked oatmeal, watched old westerns and film noirs, played darts, went on a hike in a tee-shirt (no jacket required) and enjoyed the long weekend to the fullest.
So when I went back to my camera and saw how pretty the pictures turned out (all that sunshine sure helps), I decided that I just needed to focus, make it work, and share this amazing recipe with you. If you’ve been reading this blog for the past few years, you might remember a few recipes for baked oatmeal along the way. It’s one of my favorite ways to make oatmeal but I haven’t made one in quite a while – but a prompt from Orangette was all I needed to get back on the baked oatmeal train. This recipe from Super Natural Every Day isn’t that far off from one of my old recipes, but I like the casualness of it. Instead of mixing everything up in a bowl, the oats, fruit and dry ingredients are scattered in the baking pan while the wet stuff gets poured over top.
This version is full of blueberries, dried apricots, coconut and walnuts and I love the mix. I used frozen blueberries that I had frozen myself from last summer (no need to defrost!) and figured that dried apricots would be a lovely pairing. It totally was. The crunch of the walnuts were perfect and I didn’t even toast them beforehand as was recommended. And because I can’t be too far from coconut, in went some of the unsweetened shredded stuff. As Molly suggests, coconut milk would be a good substitute for the whole milk. And if you’re looking for a vegan version, please try this one or that one from my archives.
And if you’ve got some pourable heavy cream on hand, by all means, drizzle some over top of your bowl! It’s so worth the splurge.
baked oatmeal with blueberries,coconut & dried apricots
(adapted from Super Natural Every Day) by Heidi Swanson
I used vanilla sugar since I had some on hand and it gave the dish an extra jolt of vanilla essence. If you don’t have any, please just pour in additional maple syrup and add in another teaspoon of vanilla.
2 c rolled oats (large flake) – be sure to use gluten-free oats if that is a concern
1/2 c walnuts, roughly chopped
1 t baking powder
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 c blueberries (frozen work fine)
1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
6-8 dried apricots, sliced into strips
2 c whole milk
1/4 c maple syrup
2 T vanilla sugar (see recipe headnote)
1 large egg
2 T cold butter + more for greasing the pan
1 t vanilla extract
heavy cream for serving over top (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F and set oven rack to the bottom-middle position.
Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Dump in the oats, nuts, baking powder, nutmeg and salt and stir around with a fork. Scatter the blueberries and apricots over the oat mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, maple syrup, sugar, egg and vanilla together. Slowly pour over the oat mix and use that fork again to gently prod the liquid down into the oat layer. Cut the butter into bits and scatter evenly over top of the oats.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes before serving. If you want to gild the lily (and I highly recommend it), pour each serving with a drizzle of heavy cream. Serves 4-6.