Steel cut oats with caramel pear and chantilly (or cashew) cream
A warm bowl of oatmeal is one of my top of the list comfort foods. In that category, my favourite type of oats are the steel cut because they retain a nice chewy texture and do not get mushy when cooked. Steel cut oats (a.k.a Irish Oatmeal) are made by removing the husks from the grains and then putting the grains through a cutting machine with rotating steel disks that cut each oat into 2-3 small pieces, hence the name steel cut oats. In case you are wondering, Scottish oatmeal is slightly different. Instead of cutting the oats with steel disks these are stone ground, breaking the oats into small pieces of various sizes. Scottish oatmeal cooks to a creamier texture and are also delicious with slightly nutty flavour.
Believe it or not, there is a World Porridge Making Championship called The Golden Spurtle that takes place in the highland village of Carrbridge in Cairngorm, Scotland. “Spurtle” is an ancient Scottish wooden porridge stirring spoon that lends the competition its name. There are two categories of competition: The traditional porridge competition where contestants are allowed to use only three ingredients: oatmeal, salt and water, and a specialty competition where the contesters can add other ingredients and produce both sweet and savoury dishes. If you fancy yourself a porridge expert worth a competition you can find entry information here. The winning entry in 2014 was made with Hamlyn’s Scottish Oatmeal, available for purchase online. Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats, also known as “pinhead” oats, won as the new Golden Spurtle World Porridge Champion according to their website. If you have a favourite steel cut oats recipe and feel competitive you can submit your recipe to Red Mill for a chance to win prizes or an entry into the competition.
Steel cut oats make a wonderfully textured bowl of cereal that we enjoy again and again with a few different toppings. This time I was in a sweet mood and topped the bowl with caramelized pears, caramelized nuts and lemon creme chantilly. It’s not our everyday bowl of cereal but I was in a festive mood. If you want to keep it vegan you can replace the chantilly cream with cashew cream made with vanilla flavoured rice or oat milk. See instructions below. Oh so delicious.
I have posted a couple of oat recipes before:
1 cup steel cut oats
2 cups water
1 cup rice or oat milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped caramelized nuts
For vegan version use cashew cream made with vanilla rice milk and lemon juice. Recipe below.
Bring water, salt and rice or oat milk to a boil.
Add steel cut oats in a slow stream stirring.
Bring back to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until water is absorbed, about 10-20 minutes. Stir the cereal a few times as it cooks. If the mixture seems dry add a little more water or rice/oat milk.
When the cereal is ready remove from heat, cover the pot and let stand 5-10 minutes.
To make the pears peel a pear and cut into medium dice.
Place a tablespoon of sugar in a skillet and add the pear. Stir over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes and the pear is coated with golden caramel. Be careful not to burn it as the sugar can turn from golden to burnt very quickly. when it’s done remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
To make the creme chantilly whip the cream with the sugar and lemon juice until soft peaks form. I do it by hand with a whisk.
soak 1 cup cashews in boiling water for an hour. Drain and rinse. Place in a blender with 1/2 cup vanilla flavoured rice or oat milk, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and blend until smooth. Use this instead of the chantilly cream.
Place a few spoon of porridge into each bowl, scatter caramelized pear on top and sprinkle with chopped caramelized nuts. Spoon some chantilly cream in the middle and serve warm.