The Shopping List: steel-cut oats, butter, granola (or nuts) heavy cream, orange zest, egg yolks, vanilla extract, sugar

For the Oatmeal:

Put a full teakettle of water on to heat.

In a large saucepan, melt:
2 tablespoons butter
Add:
2 cups steel-cut oats
Toast the oats until light brown.

Pour 4 cups of hot water over the oats. Reduce heat to simmer the oats until all of the liquid is absorbed. Divide the oatmeal into 6-8 custard cups (I use 1 pint canning jars with plastic lids) and store in the fridge overnight.

For the Creme Brulee:

Zest 2 oranges

In a medium saucepan, heat: 1 1/4 cups heavy cream orange zest
Simmer very gently for about 15 minutes to infuse the cream with orange flavor. Remove from heat. Strain the cream to remove the zest. (I use a cheese cloth to do this.)

In a medium bowl, whisk:
5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons palm sugar

Continue to whisk for about two minutes until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in color.
Slowly whisk in:
the strained cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Divide the mixture into 4 (4 oz.) ramekins Put the ramekins into a 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Fill the dish 3/4 full of hot water being careful not to splash it into the custard cups. Bake at 300° for about 40 minutes or until the custard is just set around the edges and is still a bit wiggly in the center. Remove the baking dish from the oven and remove the custard from the baking dish. Cover and chill for at least two hours. (I make both this and the oatmeal the evening before.)

To assemble:
Remove the custard and the oatmeal from the fridge. Sprinkle the oatmeal with either:
granola or chopped nuts
Divide the custard evenly between the cups of oatmeal. (About two tablespoons per cup) Spread the mixture smoothly over the top.
Sprinkle over the top of each:
1 teaspoon of sugar

Place the cups on a baking sheet and set the sheet 3 inches under the broiler. Broil until the sugar is caramelized. Pay constant attention to keep the sugar from burning.

The original recipe came from Peter Callahan’s book bite by bite. This is a delightful cookbook overflowing with recipes and creative presentation ideas for miniature foods. I “supersized” the original measurements to make this substantial enough to feed my family of seven a hearty breakfast. My oatmeal recipe is a no frills version as I found that all of the ingredients that Peter adds to his really doesn’t make much difference. The goodness is all in the crunchy topping and in the orange infused custard. I use palm sugar in the custard because it is sweet enough but much less sweet than regular sugar. I am still experimenting to see if it can be used in place of plain sugar to caramelize under the broiler. I’ll let you know.

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