Apple and cinnamon sugar snap porridge
- 40g porridge oats (or 1 sachet if using instant)
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 180ml semi-skimmed or 1% milk
- 1 tablespoon applesauce
- 15g golden caster sugar or superfine sugar
Prep:2min › Cook:5min › Extra time:5min cooling › Ready in:12min
- Add porridge oats to a pan and mix in the cinnamon. Add milk and applesauce, and heat slowly on the hob, stirring continually.
- When porridge has reached desired thickness, remove from heat. If too thick, add a little more milk or water and keep on the hob until the consistency is right for you. (I like mine to be textured, but fairly runny.)
- Empty the porridge into an ovenproof bowl and stir well to ensure that the bowl’s sides are slightly coated. Place under the grill on a low heat until the surface has set slightly and then leave to cool for at least 5 minutes. For best results, try and allow the porridge to form a 'film' or 'skin.'
- Dust the porridge evenly with caster sugar, ensuring that the surface is completely covered and that the sides are coated.
- Return the bowl to a medium hot grill and check after around 1 to 2 minutes of cooking. The lid should be a very light golden brown, and quickly turn solid when removed from the heat (give it a tap). If it doesn’t, pop it back under for another minute or until this effect is achieved.
- Leave to cool for a further 2 minutes (if you can wait that long), and then devour.
The Scoffing Cow’s Top Tips:
1. If you have the time, and/or patience, porridge oats really love a good soak. You'll notice the increase in creaminess in comparison.
2. Don’t rush the initial grill. The reason behind this step is to give the sugar something to rest on; almost a film. If the surface isn’t hardened, the sugar will dissolve straight into the oats and the lid won’t anywhere near as crunchy. If you overcook the porridge at this stage, and the surface catches under the heat, you can always give the bowl a stir and have another shot at it.
3. Ensure you allow the surface to cool between grilling. If you don’t, the final product won’t have that crucial ‘crunch.’
4. When heating the caster sugar, don’t be tempted to over cook. Perfect crunch relies on the sugar granules not completely caramelising – you should still be able to see the grains if you look closely, and the colour will be a very light golden brown. The 'solidifying' won't occur straight away, and the sugar needs to oxidise away from the heat in order to get really hard (Heston eat your heart out!) and crystalise. You should be able to give it a good tap with a spoon without the surface breaking, once it's ready. If the sugar is overcooked, it will be a lot darker in colour since it has fully caramelised. Whilst this works nicely on a crème brulee, because the oats are still hot in this recipe, the caramel won’t become cold enough to set and the syrup is likely to be reabsorbed into the porridge itself.
You don't need to be a porridge snob here, Oats-so-Simple sachets work wonders, and if you have a super sweet tooth like mine, the golden syrup flavour will prove a hit.
Make it healthier:
Ditch the apple sauce and cinnamon, and add ginger or nutmeg instead.
Don’t be tempted to substitute the sugar with sweetener. It just won’t work, and quite frankly, defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Yes, I know 15 grams seems like a lot for one person, but with a breakfast as sinless as porridge, even the most cautious of cows has significant room to manoeuvre.
See it on my blog
Hi Ninja, thanks for your review. It is certainly possible, though I have had mixed results if I'm honest. I find that the sugar caramelises too easily so doesn't set as hard. You could try using the torch on a really low heat - but this would probably take just as long as using the grill. Let me know how you get on though, and I'll happily tweak my recipe accordingly! :-) - 17 Feb 2011
Thank you for the great recipe, best one i've tried yet! Worth the effort by far. Can i ask? Is is possible to use a cooking torch or a low powered blow torch to cook the surface? - 17 Feb 2011