I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve reached that point in the year when it’s time to wind down. I’m tired. It’s cold. And it’s really dark.
Not that I’m complaining. I’m tired because I’m busy taking some big steps in my copywriting business, and I’ve just completed NaNoWriMo for the first time. I love walking in the winter cold and taking inspiration from the morning frost and mist. And the dark allows me to hunker down in the evenings with books, pens, ideas and tea.
But all of this does mean that my eyes are weary and I’m in search of warm and filling festive flavours. A hot bowl; something mulled maybe.
And so to this week’s recipe, which, aside from the mulled element, ticks all of the above. (Although this idea has just got me thinking about poaching fruit in mulled wine and crumbling some toasted oats over it – I love how inspiration springs from words.)
Pear, Cranberry & Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal
This recipe is so wonderful for winter mornings. Flavoured with hearty, wholesome ingredients, while adding some festive cheer with fragrant spices and Christmassy ingredients:
- toasted hazelnuts
- sweet pear
- sharp but fabulous cranberries
- cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
- oats, oats, oats
I really love the convenience of this way of making oatmeal. It’s so easy to put together, and once it’s baked you can just scoop a portion into a bowl in the morning or take some in a little jar to work. Not that you need to confine this to a morning morsel – we’ve been enjoying it as a dessert (and afternoon snack), on its, own heated up, and especially with custard…
I’m so thrilled with the new Oatly range in UK supermarkets. The custard, sour cream and pouring cream are all delicious.
So if you’re looking for something new to bake this weekend, you want your house to smell like Christmas, and you think having a lovely bowl of pudding breakfast every morning for the first full week in December might be a nice thing; you could do worse than make this recipe on Sunday afternoon.
It’ll be the perfect accompaniment to tree decorating – or just blanket-dwelling.
P.S. If you’re looking for some Christmas recipe inspiration there’ll be lots more to come in December. In the meantime, why not take a look through the Christmas recipe archive? (The Cranberry Sauce is great for leftover berries.)
- 100g fresh cranberries (frozen are fine) + 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
- 70g hazelnuts
- 2 pears
- 150g rolled oats (gluten-free if required)
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of good salt
- 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if required)
- 200ml non-dairy milk
- 3 tbsp apple puree*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Put the cranberries, water and coconut sugar/maple syrup in the dish you're using (I used one that measures about 8x6 inches) and put it in the oven.
- Chop the hazelnuts to toast. Cook for 4-5 minutes, either in a dry pan on the hob, or on a tray in the oven.
- Slice the pears thinly, and discard the seeds.
- Combine the oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
- Whiz the milk, apple puree and vanilla extract together in a food processor (or hand-whisk), then stir this into the oat mixture. Add the hazelnuts too.
- You can now assemble! Remove the dish with the cranberries from the oven and scoop out 1-2 tbsp to add to the oat mixture.
- Layer the pear slices on top of the remaining cranberries, followed by the oat mix. Smooth it down with a spoon and cook for 40-50 minutes.
- Enjoy on its own, or serve with custard, cream or yoghurt.
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