Here in Norway it is what we call “lille julaften,” the eve before Christmas Eve. I’ve been a little distracted from my usual projects this week. On Thursday, the house was invaded — I now share the two bedroom sloped-roof “loft” with my parents and my brother, Lorentz. The house is a tiny bit messier with all of us, and a whole lot livelier. I love it.
Since they arrived, we’ve gone on misty afternoon beach walks, eaten many good meals, and started celebrating Christmas.
I already feel that the days pass too quickly! And, the celebrations are just starting. My aunt Linn hosted the first Christmas party at her house on Saturday. We ate good food and played a scavenger hunt trivia game that Linn created. But, a Norwegian Christmas celebration isn’t complete without dancing around the Christmas tree signing Christmas songs. So, all twenty or so family members from age three to over 80 held hands and ran around the tree singing carols.
I wish I had filmed the dancing and laughter! Lorentz and I, having celebrated the last 16 Christmases in the US, only kind of remembered the Norwegian song lyrics. We sang the first few lines of each carol and glanced at each other with understanding, knowing that we were both pretending we knew the rest.
This is a season when there are lots of parties and lots of time is spent around the dining table. Which also means it’s the time of year when family gets the chance to make fun of each other and bring up embarrassing stories they’ve been storing up for the perfect moment.
One of my favorite meals is a lazy morning brunch. Growing up, mom always made a beautiful breakfast spread for us on the weekend and during vacations. We enjoy slow mornings together with good food and hours of conversation. Spending Christmas in Norway hasn’t changed that.
This week, I added an American dish to the spread. I made a creamy baked oatmeal with sweet, roasted pears covered in a crisp, caramelized nut crumble. It bubbled over in the oven (next time I wont use a pie dish) and made the house smell wonderful. It’s the perfect winter breakfast! Some might say looks like dessert… but let’s tell ourselves it’s breakfast.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
Baked Oatmeal with Roasted Pears
Adapted from one of my favorite blogs Not Without Salt.
2 cups (200g) Rolled Oats
⅓ cup (70g) Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg
½ tsp Sea Salt
2 cups (4 ½ dl) Milk
2 tbsp (30g) Unsalted Butter, Melted
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 to 3 Pears, Cored and Sliced
½ cup Walnuts
1 tbsp Butter, Melted
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
Preheat your oven to 375℉ (190℃)
Butter an 8×10-inch (20x25cm) baking dish.
Combine oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour into the baking dish.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats.
Tuck the pear slices into the oats. Combine all the crumble ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the oats and pears.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. The crumble should be a deep golden color, the top should be caramelized and the center should be cooked through. Let cool slightly, then serve.