You can really ask anyone who knows me – I’m not much of a breakfast person. It used to be the standing joke that John would go out to breakfast with our friend Amanda and order and entire platter of biscuits plus other breakfast monstrosities, while I would go on a 20 mile run. It’s not that I don’t love breakfast food, I just don’t like eating it in the morning. Sometimes I wish that people went out to brunch for dinner. I would most certainly order a plate full of pecan waffles, slather them with syrup and not feel guilty at all about eating what is basically a dessert and counting it as dinner. However, I just don’t like doing this for breakfast.
On any given weekday, I’m franticly trying to get out the door, half dressed and planning to put my makeup on at stoplights on my way to school. Breakfast is usually a granola bar I grab as I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. So the fact that I have eaten a warm breakfast everyday for the last 2 weeks must tell you that something is up. I don’t want to go so far as to say this oatmeal has changed my life, but after all they do say a good breakfast is the start to a good day and I have had a very good past 2 weeks.
This dish has taken the reigns as the best oatmeal I have ever eaten, and this is coming from someone who usually eats oatmeal all winter. It’s moist, flavorful and filled with fruit. The flavor of the toasted pecans really come through, so don’t try to save yourself a step by tossing them in un-toasted. It’s a well balanced meal and it keeps you full a lot longer than a granola bar. I think that perhaps the best thing about this oatmeal is that you can make a batch and easily reheat it for breakfast for the rest of the week. Since I have no desire to get up earlier than necessary to make myself food, I have made this on Sunday night the last 2 weeks and then reheated it throughout the week. I ate it 5 days later and it still tasted great. I plan on making this many more times as the weather gets colder, and I can’t wait to experiment with an apple or pumpkin flavor. I’ll be sure to share those with you as soon as I’ve got the recipe down :-)!
Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
– Make a 1 & 1/2 quart casserole (4-6 servings)
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 cup pecans, light toasted then chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup milk (I used skim)
- 1 large egg
- 2 T. butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup blueberries and/or raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 1 & 1/2 quart casserole with butter or cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl toss together oats, pecans, baking powder cinnamon and salt (dry ingredients).
3. In a small bowl whisk together the liquid ingredients reserving 1 T. of butter (maple syrup, milk, egg, 1 T. butter and vanilla).
4. Line the bottom of the baking dish wish sliced bananas. Then top with about 2/3 of the blueberries and/or raspberries.
5. Spread the oat mixture over the fruit. Drizzle the milk mixture over the oats, trying to distribute as evenly as possible.
6. Bake the oatmeal for 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining 1 T. of butter.
7. Dish can be served straight from the oven and topped with additional toppings if desired. (I didn’t find this necessary). Alternatively, this can be made, refrigerated and individual pieces can be reheated in the microwave for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.
If I had my choice of desserts, pineapple upside down cake would not be at the top of my list. Well at least it wasn’t until I made this cake. If you think like me, you might think that pineapple upside down cake is stuck in the 1980s. While I must admit that the ho-hum yellow-tan color occasionally mixed with the bright red of a maraschino cherry is somewhat unappetizing and does indeed remind me of 1980s wallpaper, I must give some respect to the deliciousness that is this cake.
I made this for my dad’s birthday because for as long as I can remember, it has been his favorite cake. Perhaps this is because I was raised in the 80s, at a time when yellow-tan was in style. Or perhaps my dad has not ventured out into the world of other cake flavors. But most likely I think that my dad just realized that this is a simple cake base that could be eaten on it’s own, combined with a pineapple-carmel syrup that is to die for.
When I decided that I was going to make this for his birthday, I searched high and low for what I thought would be the best recipe. I have made a few pineapple upside down cakes in the past, but I wanted something that would be truly exceptional. While I am not normally one to alter a baking recipe much from the original, I had to make an exception for this cake. I ended up combining the best parts from 2 separate recipes so that I could get a rich cake that would fit in a 9-inch pan and not use the entire pound of butter. I think it turned out to be a success. The cake has a rich and nutty flavor and is so moist in part because of the sour cream and pineapple juice and in part because of the rich syrup sauce it is drenched in. Of course the pineapple itself is on the of the best parts, so feel free to use real pineapple if you have it handy. I have a feeling that I will be making this around September 1st again next year :-).
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
– Makes one 9-inch cake
- 1-20 oz can pineapple slices in juice (reserve juice)
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 10 Tablespoons butter (1 stick + 2 T.)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
1. Heat brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbling (several minutes). Remove from heat and pour mixture into a non-stick 9 inch cake pan. Place slices of pineapple over the sauce, cutting pieces as necessary to fit as many as possible.
2. Preheat oven to 325º.
3. Whisk flours, almonds, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a mixer blend sugar and butter. Add eggs, one at a time and then mix in vanilla and pineapple juice. Once blended slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Batter will be thick.
4. Pour batter on top of pineapple slices in pan. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Cool for 5-10 minutes and then invert cake on a rimmed plate to insure no juices are lost. Serve warm or refrigerate for 1-2 days before serving.