Saturday, 31 December 2016

Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding Squares

This is an oatmeal breakfast “thing”, with a texture that’s like a heavy rice pudding. It is based on a recipe that used to be on the Quaker Oats site but which I have modified quite significantly. It’s kind of a combination between that original recipe, a recipe for All-Bran cake that used to be on the Kellog’s All-Bran site, and my own taste. It will “stick to your ribs” and keep you feeling full for a long time. It’s not a particularly “healthy” breakfast as you only get 9 squares, and each square or “serving”  has a lot of carbohydrate,35 grams and sugar 16 grams (there were other recipes out there that were even worse, some with sugar content of 30 grams per square, and a much higher "carb" count). However, it is a portable breakfast and freezes well, and warms up well in a microwave. To freeze, wrap each square in plastic wrap, then wrap in aluminum foil, sealing well, then put all in a plastic freezer bag. To defrost, do so by putting it in the fridge overnight, then warm up in the microwave AFTER removing the foil and plastic wrap. This is a very flexible recipe as the dried fruit can be altered to suit your taste (dates, mango, banana,figs,apricots, etc), the spices can be adjusted to match/compliment the fruit you use (cardamom with dates and figs, coriander with apricots or mangoes etc), the type of milk (whole, skim, almond, soy, coconut), and the nuts altered to match the dried fruit (walnuts or pecans with figs and dates, almonds with cranberries or apricots etc). Honey, golden syrup, maple syrup, can be substituted for the molasses, according to your taste and preference.  For those who like things a bit sweeter, the sugar may be increased to 1/2 cup or simply pour a little maple syrup over the square. It's also good when topped with a healthy serving of plain Greek style yogurt.
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup Scottish oatmeal
1/2 cup flax meal
2 tablespoons dry, shredded coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruits)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 medium Granny Smith or other slightly tart apple, peeled and coarsely shredded
2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups half and half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1.      Heavily grease a 8x8x2 inch baking tin or Pyrex dish (If I’m using Pyrex, I put about 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the dish, microwave to melt, then swirl around to coat the bottom and sides just like you would do when making a bread pudding. Alternatively, you can also use a square of parchment paper that is larger than the baking dish, and pour the mixture directly on this. After baking, just lift the paper to take it out of the dish).
2.      In a large bowl, combine the oats, oatmeal, chopped cranberries, chopped nuts, cinnamon, allspice, flax meal, coconut, soda, and salt. 
3.      Mix the sugar and molasses with the milk and half and half, mixing well to dissolve the sugar.
4.      Add the shredded apple, vanilla, and grated ginger to this.
5.      Whisk the eggs, and add the milk mixture to this.
6.      Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well. Then pour all into the prepared baking dish, using a spatula to distribute the solids evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet mixture. 
7.      Bake for 55 to 65 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until the center is set, firm to the touch, and a cake tester inserted comes out relatively clean (there may be some liquid on it but that will be absorbed as the baked oatmeal cools). To get a nice "crust" on top, place under the broil element for 5-7 minutes, watching carefully that it does not burn. Let cool. If you have used the parchment paper technique described earlier, lift the "pudding" out of the dish by the parchment paper. Place on a cutting board, and cut into squares.
Serve warm, or let it cool before freezing. Wrap squares for freezing as indicated above.