I’ve made this oatmeal a few times with walnuts, as described below, but I also like to make it with almonds or pecans, either whole or coarsely chopped. It’s nice to toast the nuts beforehand – and it’s easy: just a few minutes on a sheet pan in a 350°F oven, until they smell fragrant – but I often skip it. No harm done.
I’m a big believer in whole milk, and I think this recipe needs its fat and richness. (I’ve had it with 1% and was disappointed in the result.) Actually, the next time I make this oatmeal, I might try replacing a cup of the milk with coconut milk. That could be exciting. I might also throw in a half-cup of unsweetened shredded coconut. I’ve added coconut before – about a quarter-cup, or 25 grams – and though I can’t say that I was aware of its presence, Brandon and I both agreed that the baked oatmeal was especially good that morning.
As for the fruit, you could use any berry, including frozen ones. I don’t even worry about thawing them first. I suggest a range of amounts for the berries below, one that’s very berry-y and one that’s less so.
Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the top third of the oven.
In an 8-inch square baking dish, mix together the oats, the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. (This part can be done the night before, if you like, to make things easier in the morning.) Scatter the berries evenly over the oat mixture.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, about half of the butter, and vanilla. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple of thwacks on the countertop to make sure the liquid moves down through the oats.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes. If the remaining butter has solidified, rewarm it slightly; then drizzle it over the top of the oatmeal. Serve.
Yield: about 6 servings