This is not exactly a pie. And, it isn’t birdseed, either. But that is the name that jumped out at me and I couldn’t shake it loose, so here we are. It does look exactly like birdseed, and it is in a pie dish. Good enough for me.
Also, this isn’t a perfect recipe. My kids don’t like it because it is just too healthy. It has that toothsome, chewy personality that is perhaps most appreciated by those of us who actually brag about fiber consumption. I boil the honey to thin it out for mixing. And this will probably rankle any honey purist. It would bother me, except that it works better this way. It is a crumbly pie, which might irritate perfectionists. Have I got you REALLY excited to make this yet?
Let me try again. This has all of my favorite things in it…honey, oats, coconut, dried cherries and salty Marcona almonds. It forms into a nice flat pie that is easily cut into pieces. I have eaten it for 5 mornings in a row. It is so very easy to make. It has flax-seed in it which is ridiculously good for you. It has bran and oats in it which will…make your intestines happy. It has powdered milk in it which adds a little protein. I just plain like it. It makes me happy. This is an easy breakfast, snack, or dessert. It is wonderful with coffee.
1½ cups old fashioned oats
⅓ cup milled flaxseed
1 cup bran cereal
½ cup sweetened coconut
½ cup powdered non-fat dry milk
¼ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
¼ cup salted Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (optional)
½ cup honey
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, process the bran cereal until it is almost powdered. On a baking sheet, mix and spread out the oats, flax-seed and bran cereal. Bake it for 10 minutes, stirring once midway through cooking. Near the end of the 10 minutes, check to ensure that that they are not becoming overly browned. Remove the cooking sheet from the oven to cool slightly.
In a small saucepan, heat the honey until it is simmering. Simmer for one minute. Remove it from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, flax-seed, bran, coconut, powdered milk, cherries, almonds and vanilla sugar. Stir it to make sure all the milk is well distributed. Pour the honey over the oat mixture and stir it quickly to distribute the honey. This requires some mixing and mashing and breaking up of clumps. It is important that all of the dry ingredients be moistened by the honey.
Spray a 9″ pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Place the mixture into the pie plate. Spray your hands with non-stick spray and then use your hands to push the mixture down into the pie plate. It is vital to compress the oats and other ingredients as it helps them stick together. Make sure to push the edges down all the way around the pie plate as well. The better you compress it, the less likely it is to crumble. Once it is completely cooled, it is ready to eat. Cover with plastic wrap after cutting.
Somewhere along the way, a certain brilliant person (not I), shared with the world this tip. In order to keep from making a mess with non-stick cooking spray, open your (dirty) dishwasher and spray your container with the dishwasher as a back drop, instead of all over your counters. I wish I could remember who wrote this, in order to thank the person by name, but I cannot.
I make my own vanilla sugar by (drumroll please) placing a cut vanilla bean in a jar of sugar. To learn more about the vanilla beans that I use see my post on Homemade Vanilla.
Marcona Almonds are slightly different from regular almonds. They are a bit sweeter and a bit softer. The ones I use come skinned and salted and they are awesome. My mother gets a giant bag for my husband every Christmas and I always say, “Dear God, how in the world do you think we are going to eat all of these,” in that naggy thankless daughter kind of way. And they are always gone by January 24th or so. I use them in salads (quinoa, tuna and apples) on cheese trays, and we eat them by the handful. My mom gets them from Nuts.com and this link will take you to the variety we use.
The pie plate was handmade for me by Leslie Freeman, a ceramic artist in Martha’s Vineyard. Here is a link to her ETSY site in case you need one.
This recipe is made for mix and match, so substitute away with the nuts and the fruits! For a more traditional granola try this Granola with pecans and maple syrup.