Odd but true: Some of the best recipes in cookbooks are not what the author slaved over with countless testings and rewrites, but something a friend did or found, that was deemed remarkable enough to be included in the book.

You will find the original recipe I will talk about here on page 630 of Mark Bittman’s
HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING. I have made it several times now, changing this and that every time to a point where I am happy to share my version so that your efforts will produce good results. The only comment on the original recipe is too much sugar and not enough crust.


The Fruit , 4 cups, plus sugar to your taste

Fresh pears, apples, segments mandarin oranges, raisins, or
Plum sauce from fresh plums , or
mangoes with thin sliced lemon rind from one lemon plus the juice

The Crust

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Mix all together with pastry blender until you have coarse crumbs

Beat together 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, add to flour mixture blending well. It will be soft and runny.

Spray a 9 or 10 inch baking pan with Pam. Spread fruit mixture on bottom, drop flour mixture by spoonfuls on top, bake for 35 – 40 minutes. When you can smell it, it is nearly done. Serve warm, or cold, plain or with cream.
Added notes: you could use some of the bits and drabs of jam and jelly in your refrigerator for the sugar in the fruit.

I made this as a special thank you to two friends who outdid themselves on birthday surprises for me, so this became the Baked Thank You. It was so popular I then presented one to my eye surgeon after a very successful operation. There is no end to the useful applications of quality baked goods.