Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Pudding
I was chatting over email with a friend the other day (seems to be the way so many of my chats go nowadays) about how we’re so busy, we sometimes buy stuff–stuff that we really intend to use, stuff that we actually really need–and then, because our schedules are packed tighter than Madison Avenue on a Friday afternoon, we put our purchase down somewhere and then promptly forget about it. If I never cleaned my house (wouldn’t that be a dream come true? Oh, wait a sec, I suppose in that case I am already living the dream!), well, then I could leave all those bags of kitchen utensils, clothing, dog toys, CDs, etc., hanging around and never worry about them.
I’m a bit abashed to even tell you how many blouses, sweaters or pairs of shoes I have in my closet, many still with the tags on them, that I have never worn. In fact, I more or less have forgotten most of them. (This is totally different from that adorable blue wool mini skirt I purchased from the thrift store back in my 20s, barely too small on the day I bought it, but I loved “so much I’ll buy it anyway and save it for when I lose weight.” That sat in my closet, too, but I never forgot about it; I just couldn’t bear to part with it no matter how many times I moved. And–lo and behold–during one of my “slim” periods more than a decade later, I finally fit into the thing, and got a great year’s wear out of it. The next cycle of weight gain, I finally gave it away, though these days I wish I hadn’t. . . I’d still love to wear it if it ever fit me again). Similarly, I have piles of kitchen tools, cute little pans and molds, magazines, even paperbacks (yes, those do still exist among the Kindle-less), that are still patiently waiting for my attention.
Sometimes, recipes fall into this category, too. I mean, here we are all holiday-themed with Diwali just past and US Thanksgiving around the corner, and I completely forgot about this gem of a recipe that I had shared over a year ago on the XgfX blog! Sadly, the blog appears to be out of commission these days, but this recipe should be good forever. I thought I’d bring it over here to share with those of you who may have missed it, or those of you who saw it when first posted and, like me, had it slip from your memory.
The pudding is a creamy, luscious, pillowy base of pumpkin, oats and nuts (or seeds), blended to silky smooth perfection, lightly spiced and dotted with tart cranberries throughout. Straight from the oven, it makes a wonderful warm mousse-like dessert (especially great baked in a soufflé dish and topped with whipped cream); when cold, it thickens and (in my opinion) provides an equally appealing breakfast. And with this combination of ingredients, you won’t have to feel guilty eating it that way, either.
Unlike that blue woolen mini skirt, this one is a keeper. Well, until it’s baked, at least–at which point you no longer want to keep it, just eat it.
Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Pudding
1/2 cup (75 g) lightly toasted hazelnuts (filberts), with skin
1/2 cup (75 g) lightly toasted walnut pieces
2/3 cup (100 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)
1 cup (240 ml) packed pumpkin purée
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp-1/4 cup (30-60 ml) agave nectar (or if you can have it, maple syrup is lovely), to your taste*
1 Tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 ml) Chinese 5-Spice powder (or use 1/8 tsp/.5 ml cloves and about 1 tsp more cinnamon, to taste)
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
1 cup (240 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if frozen)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 4-6 cup (1-1.5 L) casserole dish and set aside.
Place all ingredients except for cranberries in the bowl of a high-speed blender and blend until smooth (you will need to scrape down the sides as you go). If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can still make the pudding, this way: place nuts, oats, and milk in a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Add remaining ingredients except for cranberries and blend until smooth (you may have to blend this part in smaller batches).
Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, then gently fold in the cranberries (scatter a few extra berries over the top as garnish if you like, as they won’t sink).
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, rotating the casserole dish about halfway through, until the edges begin to puff and crack and the top appears dry (it will still seem unbaked in the middle—this is how it should be). Allow to cool about 10 minutes before scooping out and serving; may be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired. Makes 4-6 servings. Store, covered, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or freeze.
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs