Miso caramel pear porridge makes one of my favourite desert flavours into a breakfast worthy indulgence. Tender caramelised pear, a quick honey-miso-butter sauce and toasted seeds for crunch. Jump to Recipe
I used to hate porridge with a passion. Growing up, I did a lot of tramping (trekking? hiking? we call it tramping in NZ), and porridge was the staple breakfast of choice for most people – quickly made in a pot with milk powder and brown sugar. Not me. I’m not sure I actually ever tried it – I operated on the assumption that I hated milk and so would therefore hate porridge, that lumpy, gruel-like, gluey, usually burnt substance scarfed down outside a tent. Being probably more than a little precocious, I baked carrot & coconut muffins, brought along a stash of kiwifruit and survived on cabin bread and jam. Ugh. I feel like going back and shaking some sense into my 14 year old self. I sorely underestimated the humble bowl of oats.
I eventually transitioned from my high school breakfasts of sugary bowls of cereal piled with berry yogurt. Baby steps – first to a slightly less-sugary bran based cereal with yogurt, which led to the discovery of bircher muesli, and then finally to a tentative attempt at porridge on a particularly cold morning. It’s now my staple, and my only annoyance is that it took me so long.
It’s simple, comforting and cosy. It’s hearty and healthy – full of fibre and complex carbohydrates, protein and minerals. It keeps me full all morning. And my favourite part? It’s the perfect vehicle for flavour and texture – it doesn’t have to be a boring oats + milk + brown sugar affair. I fully admit to being a bit of a porridge snob (and a coffee snob – let’s get it all out there now!). I regularly change up my grains, milks and toppings – something fruity, something nutty, something with crunch and always finished with dollop of greek yogurt. Twice while in London I sought out porridge at 26 Grains – probably the best I’ve ever had, and the first time I’d ever experienced butter on porridge, coupled with hazelnuts, grated apple and cinnamon sugar. A lesson on simplicity, and the importance of texture.
This miso caramel pear porridge is makes one of my favourite desert flavours – miso caramel – into a breakfast worthy indulgence. Tender caramelised pear, a quick honey-miso-butter sauce and toasted seeds for crunch. It’s worth waking up twenty minutes early for, I promise.
A few other favourites if you’re also a fancy porridge person:
- Carrot cake: grated carrot cooked in with the oats, a few sultanas, cinnamon, mixed spice, a wee bit of fresh grated ginger, sauteed pear chunks
- Rhubarb & strawberry compote, vanilla, pumpkin seeds, greek yogurt
- Coconut milk porridge with blueberry compote, mango and macadamias
Anyway. That’s enough of an ode to porridge for one day. At the moment (when I’m not at the hospital on placement) I’m tied to my desk and computer screen, attempting to revise (cough..relearn) the whole past four years of medical school – just as fun as it sounds. There have been some higher points: visiting the House of Dior exhibition, creating a chocolate-walnut-tahini-torched meringue cake for a birthday (want the recipe??), a couple of hours of straight laughter at the Pop Up Globe’s Much Ado About Nothing, and countless extra-hot flat whites from my local. The countdown in on – four weeks until exams!!!!
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds (optional)
- 1 3/4 cup almond milk (or other milk, I often use a mix of almond & coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- pinch of salt
- toasted pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds to serve
- greek yogurt to serve
- 2 ripe pears, halved and cored (I use beurre bosc)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon white miso paste (adjust to taste)
Soak the oats the night before - combine the oats, chia seeds, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. If you forget this step, even 30 minutes of soaking is worthwhile.
Half and core the pears. Heat up a fry pan big enough to fit all the pears, cut side down.
Melt the butter, honey and miso in the frypan and add the pears. On a low-medium heat, cook for about 10 minutes (depends on pear ripeness) until almost tender. Be careful not to burn the pears - low slow heat is good. I find putting a lid on the pan speeds this step up. When the pears are fork tender, if they are not caramelised underneath enough turn the heat up a bit for a few minutes.
To cook the porridge, transfer the soaked oats and milk to a saucepan. Cook on a medium heat for 5 or so minutes until desired thickness reached. If it gets too dry for you, add a bit of water or more milk.
Meanwhile, toast the seeds in a dry pan.
Serve the porridge in bowls topped with caramelised pear, toasted seeds and greek yogurt.