Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Apricot Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

I like baked oatmeal for breakfast. It's a change from just having oatmeal in a bowl very morning. This combination uses a variety of dried fruit for sweetness, as well as fresh blueberries. I also use a Colombian Brown Sugar, of which I am especially fond. It has a caramel flavor and adds depth to whatever I make, more than ordinary brown sugar can do. It's called Panela Redonda.
It's a little more difficult to work with but the resulting flavor, especially when caramelized in the oven, is just amazing.

1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup Scottish oatmeal
1/2 cup flax meal
¼ cup dry, shredded coconut
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
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 orange extract
½ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup Panela Redonda, broken into pieces

1.      In a large bowl, combine the oats, oatmeal, chopped nuts, flax meal, coconut, baking powder, and salt. 
2.      Mix the sugar, honey, coriander, dried fruit, and orange extract, with the milk and half and half. Slowly bring to below boiling, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature.  Add in the shredded apple.
3.      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).  
4.      Whisk the eggs, and add the lukewarm milk mixture to this.
5.      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. Once the mixture has thickened, arrange the fresh blueberries and Panela pieces on top. This way, the berries and Panela will stay on the top of the mixture). Refrigerate for a few hours (6 hours at least) or overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet mixture. 

6.      Prior to baking, add a few more pieces of the Panela.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, in a water bath, 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).  OPTIONAL: For a nice, caramelized crust topping, place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, watching very carefully that it does not burn (the sugar may darken but it adds flavor).

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