For the week I turned 16, I convinced my family to fly to Boston for our summer vacation, with the not-so-secret ulterior motive of seeing a Red Sox’s game as part of my dad and my MLB stadium tour. Eager to revisit their old graduate school stomping grounds, my parents agreed in a heartbeat, so just a few days after classes ended, we packed up our bags and boarded a plane, landing in the humid and overcast East Coast 5+ hours later.
Besides the iconic Fenway Park, our family brainstormed a list of other famous places to visit on our trip. After memorizing Longfellow’s legendary poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” with my mom in middle school, the two of us practically begged to stop by the Old North Church and climb the steps to the bell tower where his accomplice lit those two lanterns in the eerie midnight silence.
When the ominous clouds burst and caused a rain delay to our baseball game, we toured the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a stately mansion filled with paintings, tapestries, and statues, to stay dry. While I admired the antique furniture, Dad paused over most of the wooden pieces (he woodworks as a hobby!), and we both agreed it was well worth the postponed game to experience that rich culture.
We also set aside time to drive by my parents’ first apartment, walk through the halls of MIT, snap pictures outside their old grad school office doors, and, most importantly, hop on the subway to the North End to eat our weight in cannoli.
As my parents’ favorite treat while studying and working in Boston, we sampled multiple flavors, from plain and chocolate chip to pistachio and caramel. On our last visit to the bakery before driving up to Nantucket, I started walking around the display case while they waited in line to order, and I spotted something unfamiliar and confusing: a cake with the label “Boston Cream Pie.”
Although my parents tried explaining the conundrum to me, I still didn’t quite understand. A two-layer yellow cake, filled with a custard-like pastry cream and topped with dark chocolate ganache, was called a “pie?”
Regardless, we purchased a slice to take back to our hotel room along with the cannoli, and we finished it off faster than all of the other pastries combined!
So this Skinny Boston Cream Pie Oatmeal is my healthy breakfast version of that traditional dessert! A rich dark chocolate drizzle sits on top of the creamy vanilla oats, filling your taste buds with cozy yet decadent flavors in every spoonful. With just 5 ingredients and only 5 minutes to make, this low-calorie meal is the sweetest way to fit protein and fiber into your morning meal!
Instead of a single layer of cream squashed in the middle, we’re going to make the entire bowl of oats taste like that custard, using my one secret ingredient: instant vanilla pudding mix. I usually prefer the French vanilla flavor, if you can find it. The pudding mix makes the oatmeal taste exactly like custard, or the crème filling of an Oreo!
Ignore the package’s directions; we only need the powder to flavor the oatmeal, not thicken it. The oats already do that just fine on their own! Mix the instant pudding with the milk and oats (use gluten-free, if necessary), and microwave the bowl until the hot cereal has thickened. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent it from bubbling over the rim!
You could use the stovetop instead, if you prefer, but that dirties an extra pot and I’m already waist-deep in dishes every day as it is!
You only need 3 ingredients for the dark chocolate “ganache”: cocoa powder, milk, and sweetener. Yes, that’s it! Mix those together in a bowl; then drizzle on top of the cooked oatmeal. I spooned mine into a zip-topped baggie and snipped off the corner to create the fancy lines. Or if you’re short on time, just spread it in a thin layer across the top instead!
I prefer my chocolate on the dark side—the richer the better!—but if you’d like yours a little milkier, add more sweetener. But be warned… If you’re a chocoholic like me, you may need to double the amount. It’s much too tempting to eat it straight out of the bowl and skip the oatmeal underneath!
Healthy yet indulgent, this Skinny Boston Cream Pie Oatmeal is so easy to make and really tastes like the traditional Massachusetts bakery treat! Creamy custard flavors in the oats, a rich dark chocolate drizzle on top… It’s basically bliss in a bowl!
Because who wouldn’t want to eat dessert for breakfast?
If you like this recipe, then be sure to follow my Healthy Breakfasts board on Pinterest!