As you can see from my website, I am pretty crazy about baked oatmeal. I try to come up with new ideas to keep this breakfast staple, fresh and interesting for me. With this recipe, I drew from my memories of Figgy Pudding, a sticky, sweet desert that I liked very much but now can only eat in tiny portions due to the high sugar content. I have tried to make this using as little sugar as possible, relying instead on the natural sweetness of the dried fruit. I have used a combination of dates and figs for their fiber content, as well as a mixture of spices for added flavor. Added sugar is only from 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup of honey. For those who might like it sweeter, those quantities of sugar and honey may be increased.
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup Scottish oatmeal
1/2 cup flax meal
¼ cup dry, shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar (or equivalent in Panela or Jaggery pieces)
¼ cup honey
6 ozs dried Medjool dates, chopped
9 ozs dried mission figs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons allspice
1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
2 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, spices, oatmeal, chopped nuts, flax meal, baking powder, and salt.
2. Mix the honey, brown sugar, chopped dates and figs, walnuts, coconut, and orange extract, with the milk and half and half. Slowly bring to below boiling, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. The milk will thicken and curdle slightly. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature.
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 or spatula 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.
6. Bake in a water bath for 1 hour to 1 hour and twenty 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). Invert from baking dish and cut into 12 squares.