This is an easy, foolproof brunch dish that doubles as a healthy dessert. I’ve been eager to post this recipe because it’s a flexible pantry-friendly recipe that could work with most fruits you have on hand. If you have oats, coconut milk, baking powder, one egg and some fruit, you can make this. The recipe is easy and most of the ingredients are flexible. Swap butter for coconut oil. Swap something sweet for the maple syrup. Swap aquafaba for the egg. Skip the vanilla. Use any fruit.
As a West-Coast Mennonite, I was aware that East-Coast/Midwest Mennonites had a habit of making baked oatmeal as a frugal breakfast. It always seemed a little boring to me, and way too sweet. So I was happy when I discovered Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal that uses coconut milk and is studded with fruit. It’s a vibrant, dairy-free California nod to the Midwestern baked dish. Healthy and not too sweet. I’m in.
I’ve made Heidi’s coconut & citrus version multiple times, and out of my experimentation, I’ve come up with my own variation. I love that she layers sliced bananas across the bottom. Those melt and almost caramelize. However the citrus that looks so pretty on top has a sharp tartness that has never seemed to mesh well with the coconut-banana situation. My guests have told me the same thing when I’ve brought the citrus baked oatmeal to brunches. They love the coconut and banana but are turned off by the citrus. I decided to make a simpler version that can use any other fruit.
I also streamlined the custard component of Heidi’s recipe. She calls for 1 cup of coconut milk plus 1 cup of water, then uses the remainder of the can of coconut milk as a drizzle mixed with rose water. Even though I spent a summer in the Middle East, rose water still tastes like cheap perfume to me. I instead opt for a whole can of coconut milk and skip the water. That give the dish a strong coconut flavor and doesn’t leave you with half a can of leftover coconut milk to deal with. I also opt for coconut flakes instead of shredded coconut because I prefer the toothsome texture.
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
2 bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2-3 cups of additional fruit (berries, peaches, plums, pears cherries, strawberries, mangoes)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 flaked dried coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain salt
1/3 maple syrup
1 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375F. Use 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil to grease an 8-inch or equivalent baking dish. Spread the banana slices across the bottom. Slice the remaining fruit. Scatter about 2/3 of the fruit on top of the bananas, reserving the rest for the top.
In a bowl, combine the oats, flaked coconut, baking powder, and salt. In second bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, coconut milk, egg, remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and vanilla.
Sprinkle the dry mixture over the fruit in the baking dish. Drizzle the wet mixture over the oats. Arrange the remaining fruit slices over the top.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the oats are set. Let cool for a few minutes.