Baghdad Apple Crisp

We were hit with a mortar yesterday…a 107-mm mortar of love and homemade dessert!

There was no complaining from me this Valentine’s Day (a noted cynic), even if it was spent in Baghdad (I can think of only a few worse places to spend any romantically-themed holiday). Despite the location, I was among a sparse minority on the Embassy that got to spend some time with my significant other.


But even better than that was an outpouring of love from a wonderful group of co-workers. Armed with red decorations, heart-shaped balloons and probably every single lacey doily available in Iraq, we hoarded a section of a lounge and set up a little V-day breakfast cafe!

Best part? Biscotti to go with our Green Bean coffees (packaged, but still good), and a homemade apple crisp!

These girls…these girls are amazing! They actually managed, in the middle of our jail-like compound, stuck in the middle of the desert, to create something warm, rustic and delicious.

I mean, look at these two. Absolute dolls!

Seriously, yesterday was definitely a highlight of my time out here, thanks to some great friends!

What makes this recipe so perfect for the Embassy is how easy it is to obtain all of these ingredients. Apples are always a staple of the fruit bar and can be hidden in pockets one at a time over the course of a few meals. White and brown sugar is set out in bowls during breakfast, which can be stowed away in styrofoam containers. Lemon slices are provided pre-sliced next to the drink stand. Cinnamon is one of several spices in the little cafeteria spice rack, and there’s always a bag of trail mix, raisins and nuts lurking around the office from a recent care package. Butter and flour can be bought from the “shopette,” and baking dishes can be heisted from State Department friends.

-Baghdad Apple Crisp- Provided by the lovely Karoline and Michaela!
8 green apples (peeled and sliced thin)
1/4 cup sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon (more or less as desired)
Nutmeg, raisins, chopped nuts, etc, are all optional add-ins

1 cup flour
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and slice apples. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice (used to keep apples from turning brown) and cinnamon. Mix until apples are fully coated. Set aside. Can be covered and refrigerated for several hours if need be.

Combine all ingredients for topping in a small bowl. Mix until it is the consistency of cornmeal.

Arrange apples in greased baking dish dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of apple mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until topping is browned and apples are soft.

They say, “It’s pretty much a guess-timation. This is a recipe that can handle a lot of deviation.”

Perfectly adaptable to any warzone environment or holiday.