Festive, spiced baked oatmeal with lots of apples and cranberries. Fruity, quite healthy, and easily gluten free.
Thanksgiving is literally days away in the US, which means one thing. Actually, it means many things. But the particular thing I’m referring to is this: it’s peak pie-baking season.
While pumpkin pie is often associated with Thanksgiving, it faces some stiff competition. Depending on where you look, the most popular Thanksgiving pie is either apple, pumpkin, or a tie between between apple and pumpkin.
Since I’m not much of a pie baker, but have an unyielding obsession with breakfast foods, I love making oatmeal versions of pie. In case you hadn’t noticed. Why just have pie for dessert when you can eat it for breakfast too?
And that brings me to this baked oatmeal version of cranberry apple pie.
This breakfast is stuffed (like the proverbial holiday turkey) with apples and cranberries. Grated apple and dried cranberries are mixed into the oatmeal batter, which is poured over a layer of chopped apples and fresh (or frozen and thawed) cranberries.
As a result, the oatmeal is moist and juicy at the bottom, while remaining firm and a little chewy at the top. The top actually reminds me of an oatmeal cookie.
For some reason, I thought it would look pretty if I decorated the top of the oatmeal with additional cranberries. It wasn’t until the oatmeal was in the oven that I realised the cranberries would turn ridiculously dark. Silly me!
(But, believe it or not, those partially burnt cranberries still tasted good!).
As mentioned, you can use either fresh or thawed frozen cranberries for this recipe.
The trick with thawing frozen fruit is to thaw it completely, ideally letting the fruit sit for several hours on a stack of paper towels. Don’t ever half-thaw fruit, unless you’re looking for a liquidy mess. I let my frozen cranberries sit at room temperature for about two hours, and then let them continue to thaw in the fridge overnight.
While it’s perfectly fine to use completely frozen fruit in many cases – such as when making muffins – you’re better off thawing the cranberries for this recipe. In general, I’ve found that when the fruit sits on the bottom of a breakfast or dessert (like in a berry crisp or crumble), thawed fruit releases far fewer juices than completely frozen fruit. (I actually did a side-by-side comparison to test this, because I’m odd like that).
Anyway, the point is: if you use completely frozen fruit, please note that the bottom of the oatmeal may be even more juicy than it otherwise would be. Which isn’t the end of the universe, but something to keep in mind.
(Good grief, I was not expecting to spend so much time talking about frozen fruit).
Okay, now I’ve well and truly covered the cranberries, here’s a quick note about the apples. The recipe calls for 1 pound (455g) of sweet apples, because I’m pedantic and like to measure everything. Realistically though, this is oatmeal and not a croquembouche, so it’ll be fine if you skip the measuring and use 2 large or 3 small apples.
I would, however, measure out the ½ cup (80g) of finely grated apple for the oatmeal batter – the measurement doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you use way too much grated apple the oatmeal will become kind of squishy rather than firm and chewy.
Last, but certainly not least, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating on Thursday! And, if you’re not celebrating, have a great Thursday anyway (hopefully you’ll still get a slice of pie!).
Fun Fact: There is a Guinness World Record for ‘largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys’. The current record of 661 people was achieved in 2011.
- 1 pound (455g) sweet apples, chopped
- ¾ cup (80g) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (85g) finely grated apple
- ¼ cup (60g) Greek-style yogurt
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120mL) milk
- 2 cups (205g) rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (30g) slivered almonds
- ¼ cup (30g) dried cranberries
- ½ cup (55g) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8-inch (20cm) square baking dish.
- Filling: Place the chopped apples and cranberries in the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, cornstarch and cinnamon. Pour the mixture evenly over the fruit.
- Oatmeal: In large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Add the grated apple, yogurt, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Stir in the milk.
- Add the rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Mix until well combined. Fold in the slivered almonds and dried cranberries.
- Pour over the oatmeal batter over the fruit filling, and smooth out the batter with a spoon (or spatula). If desired, top with fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the oatmeal is golden brown and reasonably firm when touched.
- Let the oatmeal cool in the dish for 5 minutes before serving, if possible. Enjoy the oatmeal by itself, or with steamed milk and fruit (or even ice cream).
1 pound (455g) of apples is approximately equal to 2 large, or 3 small apples. Half a cup of grated apple is about equal to 1 small apple, grated.
When done, the oatmeal should ‘spring back’ when touched – if your finger leaves an indent, it’s not done yet.
To make this breakfast gluten-free, make sure you use certified gluten-free oats. (But please note that some GF eaters cannot tolerate oats).