Baked Oatmeal with Tart Cherries

It’s the fourth of July. A day for BBQing with friends, flag waving and spectacular fireworks shows. But before all the holiday hoopla, we all need a hearty breakfast to get the day started right. This is the perfect breakfast to impress your houseguests and requires a minimal amount of work.

David Lebovitz linked to this recipe on his Facebook page, and I knew I’d have to make it ASAP. I’d never heard of an oatmeal dish baked with a custard-like base. I was intrigued. The egg, milk and cinnamon spiced batter reminded me of my favorite breakfast which I now miss – french toast. I know you can make french toast with gluten-free bread, but we so seldom have bread in the house, that I’ve honestly never made it. But we ALWAYS have gluten-free oats in the house. In a normal week, we’ll go through a 2lb bag of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats between making a batch of my granola bars, and making oatmeal for breakfast…and then there’s my obsession with rice-cooker simmered steel cut oats. Yeah, we like oats around here.

So it didn’t take me long to grab the bag of oats and get a batch of this baked oatmeal started. Making the custard is so reminiscent of making french toast, it made me happy just whisking the eggs, milk and spices together. Once you mix in the oats, you’re essentially done until the next morning when you pop the baking dish into the oven…the oatmeal takes a little planning ahead, but I promise you it’s worth it. The finished dish, fresh from the oven and drizzled with a bit of cold almond milk – is heaven. The oatmeal could definitely stand on its own served in squares with a hot mug of coffee, but I prefer to dip my spoon into a puddle of milk and savor each spoonful, studded with the occasional tart cherry. Give this breakfast treat a try.

Happy 4th of July to one and all!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal? Share your oaty-wisdom in the comments below.

Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Delicious Days
Serves 10

4 T butter, melted (plus some more for greasing pan)
3 eggs
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 cups almond milk (or dairy milk), slightly warmed
6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh fruit (whatever you have – peaches, fresh pineapple (Mark’s favorite) blueberries, apples, strawberries, etc)

  1. Start preparing your oats the evening before you plan to serve them: Use a large bowl with a lid so that you can mix all ingredients and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge without having to change dishes. Melt the butter in the microwave, then remove from the stove and let cool down a bit. Pour the almond milk into your mixing bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, to slightly warm the milk. Break the egg into the bowl with the almond milk and beat with a whisk. Add the sugar, the butter and the spices and blend well. Lastly, add the oats and stir until everything is combined. Close the bowl with the lid and let soak over night in the fridge.
  2. Baking the oats: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13″ ovenproof dish with butter. Scoop 1/2 of the oats into the pan, and smooth out into an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle the dried cherries over the oats, and then scatter the chopped fresh fruit over top. Scoop the remaining oats into the baking pan and smooth out with a spatula.
  3. Bake on middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes or until the top looks slightly browned color and the top of the oats feel crisp to the touch. Take out of the oven and serve warm. If you want to eat it more like traditional oatmeal, add a splash of milk.

378 cal per serving, 110 cal from fat, 12g fat 85mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 150mg potassium, 49g carb, 6g fiber, 17g sugar, 9.5g protein