Brûléed Oatmeal with Baked, Glazed Apples

Narrative by Liz & Mel
Recipes by JoAnn

After the summer Sookie had, she certainly needs all the comfort she can find. The warm apples and sweet aroma from the brown-sugared oatmeal in this nourishing breakfast soothe like a warm blanket or the uniquely nurturing touch of Claude and Dermot, her faery relatives.

“’We want to climb in with you,’ Dermot said. ‘We’ll all sleep better.’ That seemed incredibly weird and creepy to me – or maybe I only thought it should have. I was simply too tired to argue. I climbed in the bed. Claude got in on one side of me, Dermot on the other. Just when I was thinking, I would never be able to sleep, that this situation was too odd and too wrong, I felt a kind of blissful relaxation roll through my body, a kind of unfamiliar comfort. I was with family. I was with blood. And I slept.” – Dead in the Family

Ingredients for the baked, glazed apples:
2 tart apples (Granny Smith or Ambrosia work nicely) peeled, cored and cut into wedges approximately 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Ingredients for the brûléed oatmeal:
4 cups milk
a pinch of salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
4 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F for baking.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the apple slices, lemon juice, melted butter and brown sugar; stirring to coat the apples. Spread the apples on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 375 degree oven until the apples are tender and glazed with the brown sugar mixture; approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm by covering loosely with foil.

3. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk and a light pinch of salt to a boil. Add the oats, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered, retaining a gentle boil until oats are soft and creamy, and the milk is absorbed. Remove from heat when done.

4. Preheat oven broiler (if you have both low and high settings, use low). Divide oatmeal evenly between ovenproof baking dishes (2 bowls or 4 ramekins), evenly sprinkling brown sugar over each serving (approximately 2 tablespoons of brown sugar if using bowls, or 1 tablespoon if using ramekins—more or less to taste). Using a spoon (or your fingers), gently press the brown sugar into a uniform layer.

5. Place baking dishes on a baking sheet and place under the broiler at least 6 inches from the heat source. Watch the topping carefully, broiling just until the brown sugar melts and bubbles, approximately 3 minutes or less. When you first see the brown sugar begin to melt, rotate the baking sheet to ensure uniform browning. Do not allow the brown sugar to become too dark or burn. Remove from oven when melted. Using silicon hot pads or a baking mitt, place the bowls (or ramekins) on serving plates; top with the pre-baked, glazed apples and serve immediately.

Yield: 2 bowls as an entree, or 4 ramekins as a first course (or side). Double or halve the recipe as needed.