It began as a simple, earnest project — most projects that involve pies probably do — on the weird and windy day after Irene blew through Philadelphia. We would use all of the apples from the downed tree in my parents’ backyard because, even though they weren’t the prettiest or even tastiest apples, she had been a good, shady tree and a friend to many birds, squirrels and children in need of a hiding spot. Pies seemed to be the only proper burial, and intricate woven crusts the only appropriate topping.
A few days and too damn many pies later, the apple tree was back to being just a tree (a rather wimpy tree with truly unimpressive fruit), and we were in need of apple-gobbling, low-fuss, counter-clearing recipes.
This quick bread turned out to be the answer. It mixes up in one big bowl, freezes well and is very forgiving of swaps, add-ins, extra apples and overcooking.
If you can’t find pockmarked, ungrateful little apples from Northeast Philly, any tart baking apples — or whatever variety you haul home from a fall orchard trip — should do just fine.
Hurricane quick bread
What’s in it:
3 cups of flour (not whole wheat)
3 tsp. of cinnamon
Shaves of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
A good pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract (almond is nice, too)
3 cups peeled, chopped apples
2 tbs. cream (or more; just enough to bring the dough together)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
Optional: A generous handful of raisins, dried cranberries or nuts
How to make it:
Put everything in a large mixing bowl. Mix. Now really mix — get your hands in it. Once the dough comes together (it should be dry-ish), divide it into two very well-greased (or else!) loaf pans and pop those into a 350-degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes without peeking, and then let it sit for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool.
Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter @MonicaatMetro.