I grew up eating muesli. Actually, let me rephrase that, I grew up eating something out of a cereal box resembling this hearty breakfast as I now know it. The pulp in the box was loaded with sugar, peppered with a few token raisins and a scattering of oats. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was delicious but it was not true muesli.
Almost 20 years ago, on a buffet at a hotel, I tried real Bircher-style muesli for the first time and I was hooked. It was like dessert for breakfast. As a pastry chef I firmly believe in the philosophy that life is short and uncertain: eat your dessert first. (First thing in the morning is acceptable also, at least in my book but I still made a healthy alternative, without compromise.)
The hotel version was loaded with fruit, plump raisins and anointed with cinnamon scented cream. It was a luxurious way to start the day, albeit slightly too decadent for everyday sustenance, but just perfect for a short getaway.
Back to my kitchen where I recreated it my way.
My kids now love my version and this is breakfast many days a week in our house. Feel free to mix up the ideas using the base ratio of oats to milk. Pear, cranberry and hazelnut, or grated apples, cardamon and walnut combinations come to mind. It’s the perfect canvas for your favorite fruits, nuts, spices and seeds. As with so many recipes you have artistic license in your kitchen. The only limitations are your imagination.
2 cups quick oats, certified gluten-free if required
2 ½ cups dairy-free milk
¼ cup coconut or brown sugar to taste (optional)
½ tsp cinnamon
5-6 Tbsp raisins, such as Thompson
1 cup chopped peaches
Place all the ingredients in a large container, mix well and allow to rest overnight, covered, in the fridge. (See notes on a quicker version.)
Adjust before serving with additional milk or sugar, maple syrup or honey to taste.
Traditional Bircher Muesli (Swiss oatmeal) is made with yogurt. If you wish to do so, use 1 ½ cups milk of choice and 1 cup of yogurt instead.
Cinnamon: I always use Organic Saigon Cinnamon. It’s inexpensive and readily-available at Costco. Tastes great!
Use fresh fruit when is season but a good quality canned peach or pear in its own juice is wonderful also.
In a pinch this can be ready to go in an hour. Simply plump the raisins in boiling water and drain before adding in.
For extra flavor add vanilla extract or, simply use your favorite vanilla unsweetened plant-based milk.
This keeps in the fridge for days so double up the recipe to have a quick breakfast to enjoy all week!