Oat pudding, or porridge pudding, in the style of rice pudding

I ate all of the strip missing just waiting for it to cool.

I recently discovered a really lovely, easy, recipe for a rice pudding that is simple but creamy without being laden with too much fat or sugar  (on the Waitrose site). Every time we have too much milk in the house I make it. I love having a pudding you can so easily heat up, and yet is so comforting in the house.

But I still felt slightly guilty eating it, mostly cos of the pudding rice which is hardly the world’s most nutritious food stuff. And then I thought what would happen if I made it with coarse cut oatmeal, which is low in fibre, said to lower cholesterol and generally add 10 years to your life? This was also borne out of the fact that I love porridge, but often can’t be arsed to make it first thing, especially not the ‘really good’ kind that takes ten minutes of stirring (sorry, not interested in cooking porridge in the microwave).

So I tried it with oats – coarse cut oatmeal – and I love it. The incredibly slow cooking makes it taste really creamy, even though it’s only using semi skimmed milk. And the bay leaves and vanilla give it an incredible flavour, without adding calories. I guess you could try to do it with half water/half milk (how I make my porridge on the stove top) and I might try to cut the sugar down a teensy bit more. But I wouldn’t play with this too much, because it’s actually very good. I take a slice of a morning, heat it up in the microwave, add fruit if I want to, or seeds, and in under two minutes you’ve got ace porridge.

If you don’t like porridge or rice pudding, there’s little chance you’ll like this. If you do though, give this a try and let me know what you think.

600ml semi skimmed milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 bay leaves (i use dried)
A sprinkling of sea salt
50g coarse cut oatmeal (or pudding rice if you want to make this into rice pudding, in which case up the sugar to 3 tablespoons and omit the salt)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 150C. Put the milk, vanilla extract and the bay leaves (tear them a little) into a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

Lightly grease a 1.3L shallow oven proof dish. For ease (until the milk is absorbed this can spill), I put the dish on a baking tray. Scatter the oatmeal, salt and sugar around the dish. Then strain the milk over the top (discard the bay leaves).

Cover with foil and bake for one hour. After an hour, remove the foil, stir, cover with the foil again and cook for another 30 mins.

After this, remove the foil, sprinkle the almonds on top and then put back into the oven (uncovered, you’re done with the foil now), for another 30 mins. If your oven has a ‘top oven’ function, use it. I use it at this point – for the last half hour – to brown the top.

Eat. Enjoy. It’s porridge, but not as you know it.

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