Updated overnight oats: orange cardamom bircher muesli
I lived in Switzerland for about three years right after college. As you can imagine, it was The Greatest. Pretty much everything about it was great, and one of the best parts was having weekend adventures all over the place, especially into the magnificent-cannot-be-overstated-how-magnificent Swiss alps. Truly, they are magic. And part of the magic is the sweet little bed-and-breakfasts that you stay in, darling little family-run hotels with wooden ceilings and pushed together twin beds to make a double bed, and no sheets only duvets. Everything (of course) cleaner than any hotel you’ve ever stayed in before, and every breakfast brimming with beautiful bread and cheese and, if you’re lucky, especially in the summertime, bircher muesli. Bircher muesli is the original overnight oats, a combination of rolled oats, grated apple, and – in its original form – sweetened condensed Swiss milk, which is probably the most delicious thing in the universe but is not widely available as far as I know. At least not in Seattle. I remember most Swiss alpine Bircher mueslis as a fresh, sweet, hearty-yet-light, cold, basically perfect way to start a day of hiking/skiing/telecabining/cheese-eating. They were often pink from the inclusion of some kind of berry, and they always had almonds and raisins, and goodness but they were lovely.
So, given how much I loved the stuff, it’s a little strange that when overnight oats began sweeping the Internets a few years ago, I never made the connection. I had really almost entirely forgotten about Bircher muesli, relegating those pinky bowls of oaty sweetness to the cabinet of well-loved Swiss memories. But a few weeks ago, it popped into my head, and I thought to myself, “wait a minute, I could probably make that.”
Turns out, there is a great deal of discussion about what constitutes a proper Bircher muesli, but also turns out, I’m not too fussed about authenticity. I wanted to make something that reminded me of those Alpine breakfasts, but that was healthy enough to eat regularly and that was tasty as all get out. And I very pleasantly achieved all of the above with this lovely recipe from My Little Gourmet. It’s great. It ticks all the boxes, is fresh and a little bit sweet, even my kids ate it, despite the suspicious green grated apple.
But then a few weeks ago, the littlest and I wandered over to this newish bakery in Wallingford, called Damsel & Hopper, and gobbled up an orange and cardamom morning bun, and since then, I’ve been on an orange and cardamom rampage. I don’t even like cardamom that much! I find it can be overpowering and perfumey, but in the right quantity, it lends the most beautiful richness of flavor. I tried this sounds-bizarre recipe for orange cardamom yogurt from Green Kitchen At Home, which – I don’t know about you – sounded deeply suspicious to me, but ended up being one of tastiest breakfasts I’ve made in years.
Given that yogurt features prominently in most Bircher muesli recipes, I decided to play around combining these recipes, and here’s what I’ve come up with. A delicious orange cardamom Bircher muesli that makes enough to gobble for breakfast all week, that you can mix up the night before, and that you can happily eat cold and sweet the next morning.
Orange cardamom bircher muesli
- 150 g rolled oats (2 cups)
- 420 ml milk (1 3/4 cups)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice or whey A great use for leftover whey if you make and strain your own yogurt.
- 1 green apple, cored and grated I like granny smith or something similarly sharp, but any apple would work
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 420 g plain yogurt (about 1 1/2 cups). Use plain yogurt, Greek will be too thick.
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- Juice and zest of one orange
- 1 handful dry roasted almonds
- 1 handful raisins
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix. I REALLY like the almonds (and raisins) when they have soaked overnight. The raisins get all plump and lovely, and the almonds are soft but still have a bit of bite. You might like it more adding them the morning you are eating. Up to you!
Cover with plastic wrap or a plate and pop into the fridge overnight.
Serve it up the next morning. You could add extra fruit on top, as well as chia seeds or anything else that sounds appealing. I've added chopped, salted pistachios and oooooo that is tasty.
Do you like overnight oats? What do you add to them?