Apple (or other fruit) Crisp

This was born as Apple Crisp, and there was much of that when I was growing up, but I think it was just as often Blueberry Crisp, which I actually prefer. Today it is Peach Crisp, in honor of the 20 lbs. of peaches, plums, and nectarines I brought home from this week’s photo shoot.  Pictured are some of the victims.

I had to call my mom for this recipe this morning. I know I wrote it down some years ago but couldn’t find the card or sheet I put it on when I went hunting today. Mom was happy to read it off again so I could type it in. She says she likes to let this cool rather than eating it hot and serve it with vanilla ice cream on the side so that the crisp stays that way. I can remember eating it hot with a little milk poured into it to cool it, which was pretty wonderful as well.

She also says that she used to make this with Gravenstein apples when we lived in Maine because she liked their flavor – she says mostly now she uses Granny Smiths because that’s what she can find. A few years ago, though, she said she found Macintosh and Cortland apples at the Minnetrista Center market and made a pie that reminded her of her maternal grandmother’s pie. Her Grandma Bullock used Cortland apples for her pie.

6 c. pared sliced apples
1 T. lemon juice
Grated peel of one lemon
1 T. water

3 / 4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 / 2 c. flour
1 / 4 c. oats
1 / 3 c. soft butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
(My mom sometimes ads a little bit of nutmeg and/or mace)

Mix the fruit with the lemon juice, lemon peel, and water, and turn into an 8 x 8 or 10 x 6 baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon until incorporated and crumbly. Uniformity is not necessary. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake at 375 for 40 – 45 minutes and serve warm or cold with milk, cream or ice cream.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake recipe came from the back of a King Arthur flour bag, many, many years ago now. I originally made it for my friend Jenee in 1996. I topped it with raspberry sauce then. It was written as a “mix in the pan” cake, but I have found it turns out better if you mix it in a bowl and then pour it into in a lined and greased non-stick pan. It is very similar to a recipe my good friend Ana brought to Fresh Fields for vegan cupcakes when she started at the now-defunct Fairfax store when it first opened. She moved to the Tysons store & we met there…She got me started on emmet swimming & later baked my wedding cake (the best cake I’ve ever had).

This cake is suspected to be of WW II vintage. It takes a cup of sugar for a layer, which is pretty standard for a cake & that would have taken a chunk out of your ration points, but it doesn’t use any butter or eggs. It is pretty good when it’s first baked, but it tastes better the second day if you cover it and set it aside, if you can stand to do that.

I’d recommend lining the bottom of the cake pan with waxed paper and greasing the sides, in order to make removing the cake easier.

The Easiest Cake You’ll Ever Bake

Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine in a bowl and mix thoroughly:
1 1/2 c. flour (I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat and no one is ever the wiser.)
1 c. sugar
3 T. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Make 3 indentations in the dry ingredients with a fork. Into the first, pour:
6 T. vegetable oil

Into the second:
1 T. vinegar

Into the third:
1 t. vanilla

Then, over all ingredients, pour:
1 c. cold water or strong cold coffee

Whisk together quickly until just combined. Pour into a 9-in. round cake pan, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

You can also make cupcakes with this batter. Use cupcake papers and a standard cupcake tin and put about 1/4 c. batter in each. You’ll have about three cupcakes’ worth of batter left over – you can put papers in glass or ceramic ramekins and bake the remaining batter that way. Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes.

It can be frosted with this vegan chocolate frosting.