I can microwave oatmeal any day, but serve it to company? Never. Searching for something better when entertaining early, I fell in love with this idea from Heidi Swanson’s book Super Natural Every Day: Well Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen (Ten Speed Press). Oats, fruit, milk, and an egg bake up into a cross between bread pudding, pie, and oatmeal. I prep mine the night before, refrigerate, and then slide it into the oven before I even start the coffee. Now when friends suggest going out to brunch, I suggest my place.
2 cups rolled (not instant) oats
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
¹⁄ ³ cup sugar or maple syrup,plus more for serving
1 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Scant ½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced into pieces
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries, huckleberries, or mixed berries
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. with rack in top third of oven. Butter 8-by-8-inch baking pan.
2. In a bowl, mix together oats, half the walnuts, sugar, if using, baking powder,cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together maple syrup, if using, milk, egg, half the butter, and vanilla.
3. Arrange bananas in a single layer in bottom of prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of berries over top. Cover fruit with oat mixture. Slowly drizzle milk mixture over oats. Gently give baking dish a few thwacks on countertop to make sure milk moves through oats. Scatter remaining berries and walnuts on top.
4. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until top is golden and oats have set. Remove from oven; drizzle remaining melted butter on top. Serve with extra sugar or syrup.