I made an emergency trip to Utah last week to help the girl with the kids while she was down and out. It was great being with Max and Elsa, they are so wonderful. No really, they are. Perfect children in every way! And like all great grandkids, they shared everything with me, including their little germs. I came home from Utah sick, sick, sick, and all I wanted to do was stay in bed with my head under the covers. After being gone a week, there were some things that had to be dealt with first...like the smell in the house! Perhaps it was the sink full of dirty dishes? Or the full can of garbage under the sink? Or maybe it was the mountain of dirty laundry? Or maybe it was the little pile of Rosie's poop I found in an upstairs bedroom? It was a pungent odor...rather like dead muskrat. Here's the thing, the mister has a nose, a large nose, so why couldn't he SMELL what he created?!?!? Godfrey! With Kleenex stuffed in my nose and chilled to the bone, I opened the windows, aired the place out, started on the laundry, loaded up the dishwasher, threw out the trash, wiped down the kitchen counters with bleach, picked up the poop, scrubbed the carpet (in several places where I discovered "oops!" - apparently Rosie had free reign last week!) and then took to my sick bed. The mister, delighted that I was back home and on duty, parked himself in front of the TV to watch basketball...it was all I could do not to heave a table at his head! But why hurt the table? Once my madness subsided, I realized there was nothing yummy in the house to eat...and being sick and all, I wanted yummy. I wanted something rich and comforting...so I made pudding.
Before we talk pudding, have yourself a looksy at my Max and Elsa. While I was in Utah I once again took Max to Motor Sports Land...his new favorite place. His obsession with the moon has ended and he is all fixated on trailers and motorhomes...I wish I could be there when he goes to the RV Show in two weeks - he is going to be in Hog Trailer Heaven! Little Elsa goes along with whatever Max wants to do...and while she likes trailers (big Barbie houses!) she doesn't spend every waking minute thinking about them like Max...this too shall pass but in the meantime we get to hear Max say things like, "Grandma, this trailer has a fan in the master suite, it's a new feature!" Or, "This motorhome has a movable dinette and sometimes it's called a banquette!" And, "I like the bunk over the cab, it's a good use of space!" I now know more than I ever wanted to know about trailers!
Okay, let's talk pudding. Like all puddings, this breakfast pudding is creamy and rich. But that's where the similarities end because this pudding also has a nice crunch from roasted pecans and the chewiness of dried dates and fresh apple bits - and of course, there are the oats. Please don't make the mistake of thinking this is like oatmeal, mush, gruel...it's not...it's more like bread pudding! Topped with a dollop of whipped cream and it's more like dessert! Dessert for breakfast! Now that's something I can sink my sick, sick, sick teeth into!
This recipe makes two large servings. You can easily double this recipe and make it in an 8x8 baking dish, which would serve 6 to 8.
Fruit and Oats Breakfast Pudding - Adapted from Nathan and Casey Allan, Innkeepers, Swantown Inn, Olympia, WA
1 cup oats
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup diced apple (about half of a large apple)
1/2 cup dried dates (you can also use cranberries or any dried fruit you like)
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 cup milk (you can also use Almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons butter
Whipped cream for garnish, mood enhancement(!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 10 oz. ramekins with cooking spray. In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, toast the pecans until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and set aside. In a small bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, fruit and pecans and mix well with a wooden spoon. Pour oat mixture into the prepared ramekins. Combine the milk and vanilla and then pour into the ramekins, dividing equally. Top each with a teaspoon of butter, broken into small pieces to dot the top. Bake the ramekins until completely set, about 30 minutes and tops have started to brown. Serve warm topped with whipped cream. Serves two.