Yup, I’m back with another oatmeal recipe. I’m starting to wonder if I should change the name of this blog to “The Oatmeal Diaries.”
But there are reasons, great reasons, for this obsession. Oats are convenient: They wait patiently in their cardboard tube (I buy them in bulk, but decant them into the familiar blue Quaker canister) until you need them. Theoretically, oats can go rancid, but I have never seen this happen. They are cheap. Studies claim they’re a practical panacea for modern America’s peskiest health terrors, reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
But the most important things, when I’m waking in the morning hungry and lazy, is that rolled oats are quick-cooking and tasty.
This recipe subtracts quite a bit from the virtue of quickness, I must confess. In fact, I almost decided not to make it as I stood bleary-eyed over my cookbook. The coffee was almost done, after all, and my usual oatmeal method takes just 15 minutes. This recipe takes more like an hour.
As the hour passed, however, and I relaxed at the table with a cup of coffee, chatting with my sweetie and smelling the rising scent of cinnamon, butter, and oats – almost like baking oatmeal cookies – I did not regret my decision. And when I took the first bite, somehow crumbly, fluffy, and creamy all at once, rich with bakery perfume, I was very glad of it.
The note in my cookbook says “worth the wait.” And worth a try. Give this a whirl this weekend – you won’t regret it.
Lancaster Farmhouse Baked Oatmeal
Serves: 4 Time: 1 hour Hands-on time: 15 minutes
This recipe is from Jamison and Jamison’s mouth-watering book “A Real American Breakfast.” They credit the technique to the Pennsylvania Dutch and suggest that the traditional fruit used would be locally dried apples called “schnitz.” I used a combination of dried apples and dried cherries, but use whatever you have on hand. This recipe should double easily, or can be prepared up to spreading in the pan, refrigerated overnight, and baked in the morning. In either case, add 10 minutes or so to the baking time.
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup dried apples and/or other dried fruit
Cream or milk, brown sugar, nuts, dried fruit, and/or chopped fresh fruit, for serving
Heat oven to 350. Grease a medium oven-safe baking dish.
Place the oats and butter in a large, heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over and let soak 5 minutes.
Stir in the milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and dried fruit. Scrape into the prepared baking dish, taking care to spread the fruit evenly throughout. Cover with a lid or foil and bake 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer, until thick, bubbly, and brown. Scoop into bowls and serve with a variety of accompaniments.