Friday, 3 March 2017

Orange Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

This is a different version of the very versatile Baked Oatmeal recipe. I have included more tropical flavors such as Orange, and varied the spice mix.

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 white sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
½ teaspoon baking powder
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 medium sized organic orange as prepared below
1.      In a large bowl, combine the oats, oatmeal, chopped nuts, flax meal, coconut, baking powder, and salt. 
2.      Wash the whole orange carefully. Trim about 1⁄2" from the tops and bottoms of oranges. Cover with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Again, cover the orange with cold water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and simmer with the cover on for about 1- 1 1/2 hours. Don’t try to rush this part as the prolonged boiling minimizes the bitterness of the skin and pith. Tip: I used a pressure cooker to do this in 30 minutes. Remove from heat but don’t flash cool, let it cool naturally until the pressure has dropped, and it is safe to open. Allow the orange to cool. The orange is “cooked” when the rind gives easily when pierced with a fork. This step can be done the day before and the puree kept in the fridge until ready to use. Remove the center, and seeds if any. Puree in a small blender. Set aside.
3.      Mix the sugar, honey, dried spices, chopped cranberries, and vanilla, with the milk and half and half. Slowly bring to just below boiling, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature. When cooled, add the coarsely shredded apple and grated ginger to this.
4.      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).  
5.      Whisk the eggs, and add the pureed orange, and the lukewarm milk mixture to this.
6.      Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well.Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Use a wooden spoon to distribute the solids evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours (6 hours at least) or overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet mixture. 
7.      Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until the center is set, firm to the touch, has a golden color, and a cake tester inserted comes out relatively clean (I use a food thermometer to make sure that the center temperature is 164 degrees Fahrenheit or just above). For a nice “crust”, broil for a couple of minutes, watching carefully that it does not burn). Serve warm, or let it cool before freezing. Wrap for freezing as indicated in the previous baked oatmeal recipe, using plastic wrap and foil. 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 warming up in the microwave AFTER removing the foil and plastic wrap. I eat a square with freshly cut fruits, and a tablespoon or two of plain Greek yogurt.

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