Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Pie

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Miss Fats calling it: pie is a breakfast item.

She’s being completely serious.  No eye rolling or outrage.  Pie belongs in the early morning hours.  Fruit pie?  Custard pie?  Cream pie?  Aren’t these all qualifiers associated with breakfast, anyway?  Is a flakey crust and tender fruit filling all that different from your standard danish?  (Well yes.  Miss Fats upholds they are different objects.  However conceptually they are closer than one thinks with regard to food genre.)  But can’t we replace those boring fruit parfaits with a silky banana cream?

The reality is that sweet breakfast treats are almost always glorified dessert items, hiding beneath a whole wheat flour or bran addition.  (Or even just parading its sweet self for all to see.  Miss Fats is talking to you, french toast.)  Miss Fats doesn’t understand why the donut should sit comfortably in the breakfast genre, while pie remains in evening hours.  If anything the deep-fried dough item, perfectly crafted to send you to bed, should be flip-flopped with a bright and tangy slice of fruit pie in early hours.

Why should all the round sliced food objects be confined to the second half one’s day? (Pizza?  Also breakfast.)  Their perfect portability and triangular shape make for an ideal nutrient delivery system during the hours when your brain is still waking up and struggling to organize yourself in the morning rush.  Sure, it’s not the healthiest of breakfasts, but if you’re going to reach for a sweet morning treat, pie at least holds the promise of breakfast flavors.  Plus a pie is almost always waiting for you.  No need to mess with flour or a pesky waffle maker first thing in the morning: a big slice of pie is just sitting there on the counter, waiting to be consumed.  Throw a big dollop of greek yogurt on that apple pie and you’ve basically got a power breakfast.

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Look: Miss Fats realizes she probably hasn’t convinced you of breakfast pie yet.  But she’s sure this recipe makes a strong enough case for itself.  Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Pie combines the chewy oatiness of a granola with the flavors of banana bread.  Welcome to layers of flakey pie crust, silky chocolate, gooey banana custard and toasty oatmeal top; a veritable stratum of flavors and textures.  This pie manages to straddle the line between granola bar and pecan pie: teetering deliciously between breakfast and dessert.  Perhaps it’s actually meant to be consumed at the end of a late night around 3 am: right between the two.  Miss Fats can get on board with that.

This pie started as Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie.  Blackbird’s “poor-man’s pecan pie,” received rave reviews from a group of Miss Fats’ dear friends.  The crazy-simple recipe made for the perfect game night pie on a Sunday night: no fuss, just good clean fun.  However, always looking to innovate, Miss Fats’ friend I, suggested a banana cream hybrid.  They all agreed the pie had an air of breakfast and would happily begin any day with a big slice and cup of coffee.  But I was interested in producing the ultimate breakfast pie object.  The custard center seemed to be begging to mate with a banana cream friend, so I tasked Miss Fats with the challenge of melding the two.

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Through some simple substitutions and modifications, Miss Fats created a breakfast dessert monster.  She also simplified the whole thing by throwing all the ingredients into a blender and allowing the machine to do all the work for her.  Reducing the sugar and adding bananas makes for a pie that holds all the power of a pie, banana bread, and granola bars. Topped with chocolate. The custard center is the real revelation here.  Miss Fats upped the salt (as she does)  to highlight the creamy, caramel-y flavor fruit to produce a homey richness akin to a beautifully simple slice of moist banana bread.  Pie crust creates a tender base, followed by a bit of bitter chocolate (again, perfectly salted), then comes the smooth banana custard-y center, topped off with a chewy layer of toasted oats.   The ultimate geological formation: the perfect stratification of discrete breakfast treats that come together in pure mouth harmony.  Morning bliss.

Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Pie:
adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie

1 9-inch single pie crust (Miss Fats prefers this one from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream divided
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
5 tbs melted butter
4 eggs
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Par bake the crust, rolling out the dough, lining a 9 inch pie pan and crimping the sides.  Puncture the bottom to allow air to escape and line the crust with a piece of parchment or foil. Weigh down the center with beans or fancy pie weights, if you have them.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove weights and foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the bottom of the crust looks dry.  Set aside to cool. (Can easily be done in advance.)

2. Toast the oats by spreading them evenly on a lined sheet pan and baking for 10-12 minutes.  Toss every few minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

3. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until scalded.  Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and throw in a big pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth.  Pour into the bottom of the pie crust and spread evenly.  Allow to cool in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

4.  In a blender, throw in all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.   Stir in the oats with a spoon.  Pour into the prepared pie crust.

5. Bake the pie for 1 hour, rotating once approximately 30 minutes into baking.  The pie is done when the edged have browned a bit and the center is set.  The center should be completely set but have a little give: imagine gently poking a fluffy cake.  Allow to cool fully: about 2-3 hours, or leave that guy sitting out over night to chow down on in the morning.

Miss Fats highly recommends consuming a big slice of this pie with a fresh cup of coffee.  She’s pretty sure a big dollop of full fat yogurt (or whipped cream.  She doesn’t judge early hour whipped cream consumption) would send this over the edge.  Waking up to a slice of this pie just might make you a morning person.  Watch out.

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Recipe Review: Pear Ginger (Walnut) Muffins

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Miss Fats has been lazily loaving around her winter workshop baking.  Friday mornings were once a scheduled place for baking experimentation in sweet breakfast delights.  However the cold and apathy has resulted in a continuous slew of breakfast loaves week after week for her regular Friday meetings.  While Miss Fats is relatively sure folks are satisfied with a blackberry lemon pairing, or carrot cake crumble, there’s something a bit lifeless about the loaf object that doesn’t make for baking blog fodder.  So she apologizes to all of you who came here to today to hear about the variations of spice cake that have come out of Miss Fats kitchen (she knows you’re all incredibly disappointed).

In an effort to liven her baking efforts (and frankly, get her blogging again), Miss Fats finally tried out Food52’s Pear Ginger Walnut Muffins by Ms T.  These little guys have been mocking Miss Fats from her Pinterest for months now.  Every week she goes to browse the bounty of breakfast snacks collected on her board, and each week assumes she’ll give this muffin a try.  But she’s been damn lazy; and the idea of portioning out twelve whole muffins on a Friday morning just seems like too much (see what this damn vortex does to people?  Can’t even scoop muffins anymore #notarealproblem).  But February brought a little break in the weather (high 30s have never felt so good), so she rode that heat wave right to muffin town: time for something shiny and new.

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In order to cut down on morning baking, Miss Fats went ahead and made the pear ginger sauce the night ahead.  Ms. T’s instructions were relatively easy to follow, however she found that she needed to cook the sauce for quite a bit longer than the specified 15-20 minutes.  Maybe Miss Fats was dealing with some juicy pears, but hers sat stewing for a good 30-40 minutes.  This was fine, because she just let them hang out while she went about her business.  The sauce simply sat overnight waiting to be muffined the next morning.

As per usual, Miss Fats refused to use more than one bowl for these baked goods.  She simply began with step three, using a whisk instead of an electric mixer.  The dry were added to the wet and produced a thick thick batter of gingery goodness.  Obviously, after a bit of tasting, she upped the salt by about half a tsp.  Now Miss Fats isn’t rolling in walnut-money so she ended up leaving out the nut action.  The muffins baked up in almost exactly 20 minutes, which combined with the ten minute cook time (thanks to sauce prep) made for the ideal morning baking project.

The real beauty of these muffins is their outsides match their insides: mainly they’re both aesthetically pleasing and truly tasty.  Their plump, slightly crisp muffin tops provide the perfect shell for the tender, moist crumb inside.   The sauce only partially broke down the fruit, leaving tender chunks of spiced pear throughout the muffin.  The ginger flavor is subtle and frankly the pear flavor is nonexistent.  However these muffins are more about the gentle flavor and homey texture of a fresh, moist breakfast treat.  While Miss Fats is usually a fan of bolder flavors, she recognizes that not everyone wants kick in the face first thing in the morning.   These ginger pear muffins are the perfect hit of spice and sweet to sit along side a big cup of coffee on a cold morning.  She will definitely be making these again.

Now the real question is how can Miss Fats mix this thing up?  She wonders if there are variations on this sauce-muffin action that can exploited for future breakfast baking projects.  She supposes that any hearty fruit that lends itself to a fruit butter or mash would be appropriate.  That means apples, peaches, and rhubarb had better watch their backs.  Miss Fats is coming for you.

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