I was in Harrisburg recently and had the most delicious plate of baked oatmeal at this tiny little restaurant called Yellow Bird Café. It was 5 below that morning, and the oatmeal was just what I needed to give me the courage to face the day. This Sunday is another cold one here in Pittsburgh, so I’m recreating the dish for my family. To make your morning easier, you can prepare the oatmeal the night before, prepare the casserole dish, cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge until the following morning. Then you can simply bake and will have a hearty breakfast to serve with almost no prep time.
SERVES 9 generously; Prep time: Active: 10 min.; TOTAL: 1 hour
1 large apple, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
3 3/4 cups of water (adjust as necessary when sauteing the apples with cinnamon)
6 cups old-fashioned oats
3 ½ cups milk (you can substitute almond milk for a nuttier flavor)
1 cup dulce de leche
Raspberries and blueberries for garnish (or your choice of fresh fruit and slivered almonds)
Preheat oven TO 350°. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine apples, butter, cinnamon and ¼ cup of the water and sauté until apples become soft. Stir often to avoid scalding the cinnamon. Add water, as needed, to maintain a syrupy consistency.
Stir in the rest of the water and milk, dash of salt and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and add dulce de leche and oats, stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes, or until it thickens and the flavors blend.
Lightly coat a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the dish, evenly spreading out.
Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the top is nicely golden and the oatmeal mixture is set.
Allow to cool for five minutes before cutting into. Plate and serve with fresh fruit and a light drizzle of maple syrup or honey.