It all started when Noodles the Monkey found the big stash of peaches used to celebrate Grace Lin’s new book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
He loved reading about the greedy monkeys, but he also remembered the part about Minli using her last copper coin to buy a peach for a hungry beggar. After he ate the peach, he planted the pit, which instantly grew into a big tree full of ripe, luscious fruit. Mmmmmm! All the people in the marketplace relished those peaches, and Minli soon discovered who the beggar really was.
The more Noodles looked at the peaches, the hungrier he got. Maybe he could convince the alphabet soup kitchen helpers to bake something special with them!
But everyone seemed to be busy reading.
Monkey Business was sure WTMMTM is going to be a bestseller. How could he profit from the royalties?
Meanwhile, Ramona Quimby basked in the color scheme of the cover:
What’s this? Someone else was reading another good book:
A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis:
It was full of good food and recipes, but Chef Paddington was too distracted to help Noodles actually bake anything.
Then Noodles remembered A La Carte had a recipe for Peach Apple Crisp in it! Yes, it was in the chapter where the main character, Lainey, who wants to have her own cooking show someday, is forced to spend time with a geeky family friend, Christopher, at his cabin in Yosemite. Lainey is put on the spot when her mom “volunteers” her to cook dinner for everyone. Forced to scrounge up a meal with ingredients on hand, Lainey comes through with spicy chowder, golden brown muffins, comforting hominy, and peach apple crisp.
I dump in the hominy and get Chris started alternating the apples on the bottom of the graham cracker crust with a layer of peaches atop them. The peaches are frozen, but he and Mr. Haines eat more than a couple before the job gets done. Ana contributes a cup of her high-fiber breakfast cereal, crushed, which I add to a cup of plain rolled oats moistened with milk and a half cup of sugar to make the paste, which will bake into a crunchy topping for the fruit . . . but dessert is a hit I didn’t expect. The raisins in Ana’s cereal got plumped up with the peach juice and are exclamation points of flavor throughout the chewy, crunchy topping. The rich sweetness of the peaches is contrasted with the more-tart flavor of the apples.
Drooling and smacking his lips, Noodles snatched up Lainey’s recipe and followed her instructions for making crisp.
He peeled and sliced the peaches, then added a little vanilla and cinnamon.
Meanwhile, a chubby sous chef made the topping by cutting butter into flour and brown sugar.
Everyone in the kitchen loved the heavenly smell of the peaches baking. When it was finally done, the official dessert tasters heartily growled their approval.
It was quite the perfect summer’s day. Only thing left to do was reread a beloved classic,
and maybe get some more peaches and try this recipe with the apples:
PEACH APPLE CRISP
1 – 10-oz bag of frozen peaches
2 medium apples, tart, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup + 3 T all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 T butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9 x 9 x 2 inch casserole dish. Combine peaches, apples, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl.
Toss well and spread evenly in greased casserole dish.
Combine nutmeg, flour and sugar in small bowl. Cut in butter with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over fruit. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
*If using fresh peaches, omit the apples. About 5 large peaches should suffice.
Noodles’ Note: Bake this at 375°F for 30-35 minutes if you prefer a browner, slightly crisper topping.
Have a delicious day!
“The ripest peach is highest on the tree.” ~ James Whitcomb Riley