My first bite of Baked Oatmeal was at a local diner where food traditions and family recipes are often tucked into the menus.
Sugar and spice and everything nice . . . that’s what my fondest memories are made of. The scent and flavors are as sweet as cherished moments. Like hot Cream of Wheat with a pat of butter and drizzle of honey for breakfast in our tiny kitchen, and hand-cut French fries prepared by my yai yai — hugs and a plastic-covered sofa included. This is living, loving and baking. Do you feel the same about food and memories.
Berks County is where I was raised, but my family’s Greek roots and simple living rule my palate. I crave locally grown, seasonal and unprocessed foods. Adulthood brought me new food introductions, and marrying a man with a bit of PA Dutch culture helped broaden my palate, as well. Potato filling, pot pie, oodles of noodles and sticky buns were just a start.
Terry Smith, a cook at Dave’s Diner (south of Mohnton), says Baked Oatmeal is a food tradition borrowed and adapted from the Amish. It’s a portable dish that can be eaten hot or cold. Recipes vary from a granola-style crumble to cake-like squares, full of sugar and spice and everything nice (butter and more sugar).
Listen in to my chit-chat with Terry in this episode of the 2 Weird Hungry Girls Podcast.
My recipe for Baked Oatmeal is a hearty and healthful take on this calorie-dense classic. It’s easily adaptable to seasonal fruits and flavors, and it’s something everyone in the family can help prepare.
While the oatmeal bakes, sauté apple slices (1 apple) in a pat of butter, spoonful of brown sugar, teaspoon of cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Top your baked oatmeal with the warm cinnamon-apple slices, nuts, and maple syrup.
- 3 cups rolled or quick oats (gluten-free optional)
- ½ cup chopped apple
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup raisins or dried fruit (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups non-dairy milk
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup egg substitute (1 egg, beaten)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Combine the oats, apple, walnuts, raisins, spices, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, applesauce, syrup, egg substitute, and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour into a greased glass or metal 9-inch pie dish or 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes.
Note: This recipe can also be prepared in a muffin tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until set in the center. Leftovers can be frozen for an easy breakfast in a hurry.