Up at Dawn

Dear Vi,

I woke up early this morning. I tried to go back to sleep, I really did. I arranged my pillow, rearranged my pillow, stuck my foot out, turned over, turned back. You know the routine. Finally, I got up.

It wasn’t really early anymore…not quite six. I turned on the bedside lamp and opened the blind in the bedroom. It was just starting to get light outside: that pearly dawn light. The big fir trees were in silhouette, a bit of a moon peeking out between them.

When I let Sam out, I stood for a moment on the porch and smelled the air, listened to the drip drip drip of melting snow, the train thrumming on its track across the lake. I could see my bedroom window from where I was standing. The light shining through, my bed on the other side of the glass, rumpled sheets and blankets.

I fed Sam, who was dancing around ecstatic at the thought of eating two hours early. Well, why not?

So while the kettle was boiling for tea, I rummaged around in the pantry and pulled out a jar of applesauce that my friends Norrie and Barry made last fall. From apples they picked at Hanna Orchards on Apple Fall day. That’s the day the orchard opens to the public and lets you harvest the windfalls for some ridiculously small amount of money.

When I opened the jar, it made that wonderful seal-breaking thwack sound, and then this aroma of apples rose up like an old memory, except it was real. Oh, my God, wonderful. Delicious.

6:52 am. A new day begun.

Apple Betty Coffee Cake

It’s Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means Apples! My neighbour down the road has a lovely little orchard full of spartan apples and I picked three boxes! They are out in the cool of my garage, just waiting for me to cook with them.

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I stumbled upon this apple cake recipe and tweaked it up a bit to suit me. I’m calling it Apple Betty Coffee Cake because it reminds me of my (self-proclaimed) world-famous Apple Betty. This coffee cake makes it’s own crumbly topping, is fast and easy to prepare, goes great with a cup of coffee, is perfect for last-minute guests, and keeps well. Bake it today and serve it tomorrow!

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Chop up 3 cups of apples (that’s about 3 medium-sized apples). Whatever grows on your neighbour’s tree will work just fine. I don’t peel them, but you can if you want to.

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Put the diced apples into a large mixing bowl and dump 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon and 1 heaping teaspoon baking power over top. Stir it up until the apples are coated. Now, pour 1/4 cup cooking oil into a 1-cup measuring cup. Add 1 egg and 1 generous teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until it’s all blended together. Pour it over the apple mixture and stir, stir, stir until it is all stirred together. The batter will be very thick and glumpy. (Is glumpy a word? It is now!)

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Grease and flour a baking pan (I used a round cake pan, but a 9″ square pan will also work). Spoon the batter in and bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven couldn’t taste better than this. Honestly.

Nita’s Apple Betty Coffee Cake

Mix together:
3 c. apples, chopped
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 generous tsp. cinnamon
1 generous tsp. baking powder

Mix together:
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 egg
1 generous teaspoon vanilla

Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well until everything is mixed together. Spoon into one greased & floured cake pan. Bake at 350 approx 40 – 45 minutes.

Let me know if you give it a try!