An Elegant Twist on Oatmeal



    Tami over at Running With Tweezers is hosting this year’s first Hay Hay it’s Donna Day, an event founded by Barbara of Winos and Foodies . This time the theme is … gulp – soufflés. For some reason soufflés strike fear in most cooks including yours truly. The good news is, this is not the first time I’ve made soufflés, the bad news is the only ones I’ve made were dessert soufflés specifically chocolate and as much as I love my chocolate soufflés I wanted to do something different for this event.  Soufflé literally translates as “breath”. It is hard to describe the pleasure one experiences as you watch the rise of the soufflé from a seemingly unremarkable looking batter to a fascinating and delicate puff. The soufflé I had in my mind to make was something I’ve seen from Patrick O’ Connell’s book Refined American Cuisine. My admiration for O’Connell stems from the fact that he is entirely self-taught;learning his craft from reading cookbooks. He always manages to incorporate a hint of elegance in all his concoctions even if the ingredients are as ordinary as, in this case, oatmeal. So how interesting can you make this breakfast staple? This oatmeal soufflé has two layers. The regular sweetened oatmeal is placed on the bottom of the dish, and the lighter soufflé batter is placed on top allowing the soufflé to rise while still maintaining the warm porridge texture that it is known for. The resulting soufflé was incredibly complex. It had an attractive brown crusty top and as you dig your spoon into the spongy layers, you are met with a tasty pudding like consistency; then as you reach the base, an explosion of creamy sugary flavors blend to give a satisfying finish.  The process to make this is fairly involved but not too lengthy; the end result, definitely worth it. If you love breakfast, there is nothing heartier than this glorious soufflé to start your day!

Adapted from “Refined American Cuisine” by Patrick O’Connell

serves 8

For the soufflé molds

            3 tbs softened butter

            4 tbs sugar

Sweetened Oatmeal Bottom Layer

            1 ¾ cups heavy cream

            1 ½ cups milk

            1 ¾ cups instant oats

            3 tbs sugar

            3 tbs maple syrup

Souffle Layer

            ¼ cup instant oats

            2 tbs butter

            1 tbs all-purpose flour

            1 ¾ cup milk

            ¾ cup sweetened oatmeal (reserved from previous recipe)

            ½ cup plus 3 tbs sugar

            ¼ cup maple syrup

            1 tbs dark rum

            ½ tsp cornstarch

            3 egg yolks

          12 egg whites

To prepare the soufflé molds

Butter the inside of 8  eight-ounce ramekins and sprinkle them with sugar.

To prepare the Sweetened-Oatmeal  Bottom Layer

            In a stainless steel saucepan, bring the heavy cream and milk to a boil. Stir in the oats and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and maple syrup.

            Remove from heat and pour ¼ of the sweetened oatmeal into each ramekin. Reserve the remaining sweetened oatmeal for the soufflé layer.

To prepare the soufflé layer

Preheat the oven to 375 °F degrees

In a spice grinder or small food processor, grind the oats until they resemble coarse meal.

In a 4-quart stainless steel saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the ground oats and flour and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.

Slowly whisk the milk into the flour mixture and bring to a boil. Add the reserved sweetened oatmeal and stir until combined. Turn the heat to low. Stir in ½ cup sugar, the maple syrup, and the rum.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the egg yolks and add to the saucepan. Whisk constantly and remove from heat just before the mixture comes to a boil. Let cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, begin whisking the egg whites on low speed until they become frothy. Increase the speed to high and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar in a steady stream. Continue whipping until the egg whites form medium-stiff peaks.

Stir a small portion for the egg whites into the cooled oatmeal mixture, and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the soufflé mixture on top of the sweetened-oatmeal bottom layer in the ramekins.

Place the filled ramekins on a baking sheet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the soufflés are just set and light golden brown.

Remove the soufflés and serve immediately with rum-soaked currants and maple syrup.

Cooking Notes:

            It is important to have a mis en place set for all your ingredients because you have to work fairly quickly. Read through the recipe first to know which ingredients go with what step because there are similar ingredients for different steps. Also it appears that the resulting yields of the recipe are over-estimated. When I made the sweetened oatmeal layer I just used half of what was required since I was only making 4 servings. The book stated the result would be 1 cup, so I should potentially get only ½ cup. I ended up with 1 ½ cups of oatmeal. I left out the 1-cup yield in the recipe instructions so it will not be confusing. There is a ¾ cup requirement for the soufflé base but I just used all of what was left of the sweetened oatmeal.

           As with all soufflé recipes, the beating of the egg whites is the important step that would guarantee a good rise. Egg whites need to be at room temperature so I normally do the separation of the eggs first before I do anything else. It is easiest to separate eggs while they are cold. I start to beat the whites at a low speed and then shift to high when you start seeing foam. When the whisk starts to make lines in the egg whites I start adding the sugar a little at a time. When the egg whites reach a medium stiff peak (whites hold their shape when you lift the whisk), turn off the mixer. Alternatively, you can finish beating by hand to avoid over beating.

           When folding the whites into your soufflé base, take ¼ of the whites and just mix it thoroughly into the base to lighten it. Do not worry about deflation here, this is your sacrificial egg white. Fold in the rest of the whites slowly and carefully. It is okay to see a little streaking; it will all get blended in as the soufflé cooks. The recipe originally called for soaking dried currants in rum but I preferred to use blackberries. I would definitely make this soufflé again. It’s a delicious twist on a homespun favorite!

26 thoughts on “An Elegant Twist on Oatmeal

  1. Oh, Veron I do love this. I'm always looking for oatmeal dishes. Can't wait to try this on one or both of our sons. I just posted on a 100% oatmeal waffle recipe that I really like also.

  2. I was very hungry this morning after my run and this Souffle definitely did the job! (I had 2 of them). This was one of the most tasteful oatmeals I've ever had. Actually, I never was a fan of oatmeals but I like this one …. subtle satisfying sweetness with great taste.

  3. Wow Veron, that looks so fancy, and for such a humble ingredient too – oatmeal! 😀 Porridge is the ultimate comfort food to me 🙂 I've never made a souffle before but I am entering this challenge. I will get my ramekins tomorrow or tuesday 🙂 Wish me luck! I will bookmark this one to try 😀

  4. Hi Tanna, I saw your waffle recipe, it looks delicious and healthy!
    Yes , dear "hungry" hubby you did eat those two souffles would gusto. I was afraid you were going to pass out from hunger waiting for the souffles to be done and have its photograph taken.
    Sarina dahling, can't wait for you to make your souffles. Good Luck!
    Blackberries immediately came to mind, Patricia when I thought of the souffles. You are right that I was after their tartness to balance the sweetness of the oatmeal.
    Thanks coffeepot!
    Oh Brilynn your creations are always fantastic, I'm sure it tastes great!

  5. Veron, I just bought the cookbook and I'm dying to try this. My host in Washington, VA at the Foster Harris House made a different version of an Oatmeal Souffle this morning which was just delicious. Your's looks superb!

  6. I just bought oatmeal yesterday and made some this morning… alas, it's not instant (it's real Irish Oatmeal)… I guess since you have to work fast, slow cooking oats won't work in this recipe?
    This is a neat idea… I never thought of an oatmeal souffle, I haven't made a souffle in a few years… hmmmm…..

  7. Thanks Lisa, I'm already planning a day to make them again. It was such a satisfying breakfast!
    Hi Kristen, I know what you mean about so many events…and they are such great events too that you can't help but participate in!
    TW – woohoo! I'm glad you got the book, I have not had a recipe in it that did not taste good. I did notice that he over estimates some of his ingredients specially the liquid ones like cream.
    Hi Robin, you need to use quick rolled oats. Well I guess it's time you made a souffle again 🙂

  8. It looks every bit perfect! I dream that one day, i would make souffles in my kitchen and they turn out as beautiful, well balanced and delicious as yours look and not a big flop!

    Thank you so much for the recipe! When i feel braver, i'll definitely have a go. 🙂

  9. bea – you are very sweet. thanks! 🙂
    dear mae i'm sure you will not have a problem making souffle, everything you do turns out so good!
    Thanks lisa! It did taste as good as it looked!

  10. Your souffle looks so sophisticated and elegant! And it sounds absolutely delicious to me, a big lover of oatmeal and all things "oaty" 🙂 I'll be posting mine soon…it is a bit of an akward adolescent next to yours though! Heehee 🙂

  11. Thanks Lydia – hmmn when can I come over 🙂
    Hi Joey – if you love oatmeal , then you gotta have this. Being cooked in milk, cream and syrup the flavors are just out of this world!

  12. I love souffles! For some reason, I hardly take the time to make one… Having seen your wonderful souffle, I should really change that. And thanks for stopping by at my blog!

  13. Gorgeous souffle! I am going the resident language corrector but "souffle" is the past participate of the verb "souffler" which means to blow. Breath is "souffle" without the accent on the e.
    I am always interested in getting names of foreign dishes right and I think you do too, that's why I went ahead and gave you this info.
    I love the first picture, it looks so classic.

  14. Hi Eva – souffle are wonderful to make, I was scared at first but it's really in the egg whites.
    Thanks Helen. You are right I like to know the right way foreign dishes are named including their derivative. 🙂

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