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Fall flavors come early to my Instant Pot with Caramelized Apple Oatmeal

Erie Times-News 8/31/2022 Jennie Geisler, Erie Times-News

This is a recipe I've thought about probably every single day since I stumbled across something similar in "Anti-Inflammatory Diet Slow-Cooker Cookbook," by Madeline Given. I've recently been trying to reduce inflammatory foods in my diet — and bake at the same time, which is quite a party trick.

As much as I didn't want to jump into fall yet, the cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and brown sugar and such are starting to whisper at me from the pantry.

This particular recipe, from a cooking blog called Nourishing Joy, was built for a slow-cooker, like the first one that caught my eye, but I wanted to see if it would work in my Instant Pot. The idea was I wouldn't have to deal with the prep at night and wait until morning to find out I'd ruined it or burnt the house down, or whatever.

I asked the original writer, Kresha Faber, what she thought of that idea and she was delighted I was going to give it a go. So I got up and went.

How was it?

It was luscious. The oatmeal was creamy and the apples just softened, though they weren't exactly "caramelized." The original recipe says if you want more of that, you build it in layers in the order specified in the ingredients list and don't stir. That'll be good to try for next time.

The recipe made a lot more than I thought it would, too, which was a bonus as it gives me something to eat in the morning other than Cheerios with bananas. Not that there's anything wrong with Cheerios and bananas, but, c'mon — Caramelized Apple Oatmeal.

I'll go ahead and give you both recipes, so you can make your choice, in case you don't have an Instant Pot, or a slow cooker, or whatever.

The slow cooker recipe called for eight hours in the slow cooker. I estimated that to equal about 15 minutes in my Instant Pot, after the inevitable 20-minute coming-to-temperature/pressure step that is equally understandable and annoying, when you're hungry and failed to put anything in the slow cooker that morning. So, brunch? I guess, or, better yet, breakfast for dinner. I am a huge fan of breakfast for dinner.

I won't lie to you, though, the prep does take about 15 minutes as well, so you're looking at an hour from start to finish with the IP. Which is fine, I guess. Less than eight hours, I guess.

Caramelized Apple Slow Cooker Oatmeal

  • 2 pounds sweet or tart apples, about 5 large or 9 small apples, chopped into 1-inch pieces — peeling is optional
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, or to taste
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Juice from half a lemon, 1–2 tablespoons
  • 2 cups rolled oats, gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 cups whole milk (or plant-based milk if desired)
  • 2 eggs, optional
  • 1½ cups water

In the slow cooker

Generously grease the bowl of a slow cooker (a deep 3-quart one works well, but any 3-quart size or larger is fine).

Toss the apples, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a large bowl, then add the oats and stir again. Pour into the greased slow cooker insert.

Either in the same bowl or a new one, whisk the eggs into the milk until the mixture is very smooth. Add the water and whisk again. Pour over the apple-oat mixture.

Cook on low for 6-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Cook time will vary considerably according to the brand and size of the slow cooker, so if you don't like crispy edges on your oatmeal, make this recipe for the first time during the day when you can gauge the progress of the oatmeal.

In the Instant Pot:

Generously grease the bowl of an Instant Pot.

Toss the apples, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a large bowl, then add the oats and stir again. Pour into the greased Instant Pot insert.

Whisk the eggs into the milk until the mixture is very smooth. Add the water and whisk again. Pour over the apple-oat mixture.

Select Pressure Cook, high, for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it the first time. If the screen says "burn" just release whatever pressure is inside, take off the top, stir well, and taste an apple. If you want them softer, replace the lid and crank up the Pressure Cook again for another 10 minutes.

adapted from a recipe written by Kresha Faber's Nourishing Joy blog

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This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Fall flavors come early to my Instant Pot with Caramelized Apple Oatmeal

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