Cherry and Almond Baked Oatmeal

 
cherry and almond baked oatmeal for a healthy, gluten-free breakfast

Studded with crimson pockets of sweet black cherries and slivers of toasted almond, this buttery oatmeal custard gets baked until golden and then served with a dollop of vanilla scented yogurt. Pure heaven on a plate….I can’t think of a better way to start the morning.

comfort • breakfast • summer


 
cherry and almond baked oatmeal for a healthy, gluten-free breakfast

Growing up, my family rarely ate meals together. Everyone was busy and it was a nightmare to coordinate between all of our schedules, so my mom eventually gave up trying.

My friends said they envied me, because they would never, in a million years, be allowed to eat their dinner in front of a tv. The nightly family meal was a dreaded affair, they assured me, where their parents grilled them on school and hawkishly monitored their vegetable consumption. I was lucky to not have to endure it very often.

But the thing was, I didn’t feel lucky. I felt like I was missing out and when the holidays would come round and we would all sit down together with the windows steamed up and the house filled with aromas and warmth of cooking, I knew exactly what it was. It was this feeling of complete security and safety — of everyone being settled with no where to go and no where to be but where we were. It was true comfort.

 
cherry and almond baked oatmeal
 

I don’t yet have children of my own, but I try very hard to make my husband sit down and eat at least one meal with me per day. He’s a busy body and has trouble sitting still, so at times, it’s quite a struggle to keep him in his seat for very long, but it feels important enough to fight for. I think something happens, after you eat and your belly is full when you stay sitting together; there is a sense of being completely comfortable in one another’s company and that is when the best conversations ensue and the fondest memories.

We also try to have one cooked breakfast each week, usually on a Saturday or Sunday when there is a little more time. Sometimes it’s waffles or eggs with roasted potatoes and mushrooms. But baked oatmeal is one of my favorites because I love to sit and drink coffee together while it bakes in the oven. This particular variation, studded with fat, crimson cherries and subtly flavored with kirsch and toasted almonds is a real treat, especially when the cherries are in season and at their best. Pitting the cherries does take some time and is a little tedious, I’ll be honest, but is so worth the effort.

While it’s cooking, you can make a pot of coffee or tea and set the table. Like most things, this oatmeal tastes the very best when it is shared.

 
gluten free cherry and almond baked oatmeal
 

Cherry and almond baked oatmeal

Total time: 50 minutes

 

Serves 6

For the oatmeal:

  • 2 cups (200 g) rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup (60 g) coconut sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 3/4 cups (370 g) milk of choice (I used oat)

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup (40 g) kirsch (see notes for more info)

  • 1 1/2 cups (350 g) pitted sweet cherries

  • 1/3 cup (30 g) flaked almonds

For the vanilla yogurt:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp honey

 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease the inside of a 9 inch square baking dish.

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, sugar, baking powder, vanilla bean powder (if using extract, add this to the wet ingredients in the next step) and the salt.

  • In a second bowl, combine the milk, egg, melted butter and kirsch and whisk until combined. Set aside.

  • Spread half the oat mixture over the bottom of the baking dish. Add half the cherries and a sprinkling of the flaked almonds. Pour the rest of the oats over the cherries and then slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the top, tilting the pan if needed to make sure the liquid moves evenly through the dry ingredients. Scatter the remaining cherries over the top of the mix and then finish with a generous scattering of flaked almonds.

  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oat mixture has set. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

  • To make the yogurt, combine the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve each slice of the baked oatmeal with a generous dollop of the yogurt.

notes:

  • Kirsch is a colorless brandy distilled from sweet cherries. Because the entire cherry is used, including the pit, it has a slightly bitter-almond flavor (far more subtle than almond extract) that really lifts and enhances the flavor the cherries (and all berries, come to think of it). It’s one of my favorite kitchen ingredients and I love adding a capful to a fruit salad or a berry crumble. It’s also incredible in chocolate cake. It might seem an extravagant purchase for a breakfast dish but I promise once you try it you will forever be finding new ways to use it and will wonder how you ever got along without it before. However, in the case that you need to make this immediately and have no access to a bottle of kirsch, you can use a 1/2 tsp almond extract and increase the milk volume to 2 cups.


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the pan used in this recipe:

my favorite coconut sugar:

flaked almonds: