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Solar Apple Crisp for a Church Potluck

A “green” study group formed at our church last year, initially as a book study group. They have now transitioned into a group that meets monthly for a potluck and discussion. We’ve always missed the meetings for one reason or another, but today we decided to show up. The dish we planned to pass is a scaled up version of the Solar Apple Crisp. Scaling up a recipe for a solar oven still involves a lot of guesswork — for us, at least — because it tinkers with the important ratio of surface area to mass. The glory of solar cooking in a box style oven is that you really can’t over-cook many foods because the temperatures don’t get high enough to scorch — at least not in Michigan. Friends who’ve built parabolic style cookers, however, say they can easily burn food on one side before it’s cooked all the way through.

This version of Solar Apple Crisp stars a small cast of ingredients:

Ingredients for Solar Apple Crisp

Jim got a 1/2 peck of nice, tart “Victory” apples at the Farmers’ Market. Our old-timey apple peeler made short work of preparation. (It also makes fancy work of the peelings heading to the compost!)

Solar Apple Crisp


4 apples, pealed and sliced

1/4 cup sugar


1/4 cup butter

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup brown sugar

Butter a round black roaster. Mix the apples and sugar in the pan. In a bowl, combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter and sprinkle over apple mixture. Cover and bake in solar oven. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

After a very sunny morning, the day turned overcast in the early afternoon. We realized pretty quickly that the solar oven wasn’t going to be able to generate enough heat to fully cook the apple crisp so we put the crisp in the inside oven for 20 minutes prior to our departure for the potluck. The apple crisp came out lovely and juicy, and Jim was certain the only thing we needed to make it completely perfect was some vanilla ice cream, which we picked up on the way to the church.

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