It is now March and seems like it should be turning to spring. However, every time the snow melts off the sidewalks, we get a new dump of snow! This lingering winter is making me crave warm baked desserts, casseroles and hearty stews.
This baked oatmeal fits the bill perfectly. I love having a little decadence for breakfast (in this case, caramelized pears and sweetened cream). I do not, however, have time to make a decadent breakfast most mornings. What I love about this recipe is that you can make it ahead, portion it out for the week, and heat up one serving per day.
This recipe is adapted (very slightly) from Deb Perelman’s new cookbook Smitten Kitchen Every Day. The original recipe calls for 3 pears and makes enough for 6 days. As the only oatmeal eater in my house, 6 servings of oatmeal is a little excessive (I don’t want to get tired of it, after all). Using 2 pears allows me to snack on a little bit right from the oven and still have enough for 3 breakfasts. I highly suggest you make some this week to enjoy while the snow swirls outside.
note: if you have access to real vanilla beans, this would probably be even more amazing. However, I have made it so often with vanilla extract and it’s still delicious.
Baked Pear Oatmeal
What you need:
for the vanilla sugar:
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the pears:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 pears
- 1 lemon
for the oatmeal:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
What to do:
- Make the vanilla sugar: Pour the sugar into a small bowl and add the vanilla. Mix until the vanilla has been absorbed.
- Heat the oven to 400F. While it’s heating, add the butter to an 8-in square pan and stick it in the oven to melt.
- Prepare the pears: Finely grate the zest of the lemon and set it aside in a medium mixing bowl (you will use it for the oatmeal). Juice the lemon. Peel the pears, split them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the stem and cores. Toss the pear halves in the lemon juice.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle 1/4 cup of the vanilla sugar over the melted butter. Set the pears in cut side down. Pour the remaining lemon juice on top. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 350F and gently flip each pair half over. Try to spoon some liquid into the pears (this doesn’t work that well for me, but try anyway!)
- Prepare the oatmeal: Add the milk, water, butter, eggs and salt to the reserved zest and whisk together. Sprinkle the baking powder over this and stir to combine. Add the oats and stir again.
- Bake the oats: Carefully spoon the oat mixture around the pears in the pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pears are soft and the edges of the oatmeal are golden brown.
- Make the vanilla cream: While the oatmeal is baking, pour the cream into a small pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes. Chill the mixture.
- Serve it up! Scoop one pear half and its surrounding oatmeal into a bowl and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of vanilla cream on top. Refrigerate the leftovers for up to a week.