Oats must be one of the most ubiquitous Irish ingredients of all. Showing up in griddle cakes, breads, sausages - oats are everywhere in Irish cuisine. Due to lower summer heat requirements and greater tolerance for rain, oats have always been an important crop in Ireland where they grow better than other grains such as wheat, rye or even barley. Historically, oats, along with dairy products were the main sources of sustenance for the Irish, pre-dating the widespread consumption of potatoes that Ireland is known for today. Potatoes, which originated in Peru, were not introduced to the Irish until the late 1600s. Of course, it would be hard to imagine Irish food without Shepherd's pie, fish and chips, colcannon and so many other potato-based dishes, but the fact remains that before potatoes there were oats.
I love oats in both savory and sweet preparations (so it’s fortunate for me that I’ve got a hook-up in the oats department). Granola, oatmeal cookies, porridge, white pudding, plain with butter and a little salt (like my mom), I even put oats in my meatloaf for body and to help everything stick together. In the summer, I make overnight oats, pack them in single serve jars and eat them straight out of the fridge. I also enjoy them the way they are most commonly served here in America, with fruit, nuts and brown sugar for breakfast. Baked oatmeal is just a twist on regular breakfast porridge with toppings. I like how it bakes up a little custardy from the eggs, which, incidentally, provide some extra protein and help keep me (and the kids) full for longer.
More apples? Yeah, I know. Truthfully, I’m not getting that into fall yet, especially given the 80 degree weather, tomatoes and peppers still growing in the backyard and the grill still our primary method of getting dinner on the table. The reason I’m cooking with apples again this week is simply that I had a few leftover from last week. And while they weren’t very good for eating out of hand, they were great in a fruit crumble. Naturally, I figured they would work in baked oatmeal as well. I haven’t made baked oatmeal for ages and I have to say I’m loving that I made this big batch and have breakfast set for the week. Less thinking, less to do, especially in the morning, is always a good thing. Consider this recipe a gift to your future self.
Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice
- 2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup coconut oil (or butter), melted
- 4-5 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Spray large baking dish with cooking spray or coat with butter and flour, tapping excess flour out of the pan.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, sugar, apple pie spice, salt, baking powder, baking soda, walnuts and raisins until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, maple syrup, eggs and coconut oil.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine.
- Allow oat mixture to rest while you peel, core and cute apples.
- Layer apple slices along the bottom of baking dish.
- Top apples with oat mixture.
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can make this with any type of fruit you have on hand, fresh or frozen. Sometimes I make it with frozen peaches and cardamom instead of apples and apple pie spice. Cranberries and orange zest would be great. Even though this dish doesn’t have very much sugar or fat in it, it still makes a nice dessert with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It also travels well. What more can you ask of the humble oat?