Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Touring Blogger's Guilt w/ Apple Crisp

Authors love to complain about book tours…even though they get tons of attention, stay in beautiful hotels, have stolen moments for breakfast or dinner with people they really like but rarely get to see, meet new interesting people who also (by the way) take care of them and drive them and make sure everything goes well for them at every event, etc.
And I’m no exception (about the complaining I mean) but how can I complain when I see buckets of good press for Chewy Gooey and I learn that my publisher is ordering a second printing for the book. Complaints? I will just say that I returned home from this last leg of touring happy for my own bed and a couple glorious morning sleep-ins, and my own good cup of coffee. But hey, where is my room service?????

I also returned with blogger's guilt. Why didn’t I post my favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Why didn’t I write something about book touring while actually on the book tour? (How do people blog from their iPhones I wonder?)

Fortunately Bea’s Apple Crisp is one of my favorite desserts for the entire fall holiday season…and beyond.

Bea's Apple Crisp
From: Pure Dessert (Artisan; 2007) by Alice Medrich

By the l970’s my mother’s magnificent double-crusted apple pie—perfected during my little girlhood—gave way to a series of lighter, simpler experiments. Around the turn of the twenty first century, The Pie became The Crisp. You might assume that The Crisp is best served warm or at room temperature. But I especially love it cold, even after two or three or four days in the fridge! Whipped cream on top is always nice, but not essential.

The skins left on the apples actually add flavor and body to the juices, as do the dried apricots and orange zest. If some or all of the apples are red (but crisp and at least a little on the tart side), the filling will have a beautiful rosy hue. Chunks rather than wedges are the preferred cut, because small squares of apple skin are pleasant to eat while long thin pieces only suggest that the cook was lazy instead of smart like a fox.

Ingredients for the topping:

1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 (1.85 ounces) cup rolled oats
Scant 1 cup (3.5 ounces) coarsely chopped walnut pieces
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
Grated zest and juice of 1 bright skinned orange, preferably unsprayed or organic
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on the tartness of the apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 medium sized, crisp flavorful apples with a decent balance of sweetness and acidity (I have used all or a mixture of pippins, granny smiths, sierra beauties, and new crop jonathans)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, lightly sweetened and whipped, optional for serving


2 quart baking dish

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally butter the baking dish.

To make the topping: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
To make the filling: in a medium saucepan, combine the orange zest, juice, and chopped apricots, and bring to a simmer, and cook until the apricots are soft. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Halve and core the apples. Lay each half cut side down and cut twice in each directly to make 9 chunks. Add the chunks to the bowl and toss apples with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the apricots and juice from the saucepan.

Scrape the mixture into the buttered baking dish and spread evenly. Distribute the crumbly topping evenly over the apples. Bake until the crisp is browned on top and the juices are bubbling and thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm, cool or cold, with or without very lightly sweetened whipped cream. Serves 6-8.


  1. I love apple crisp and I loved meeting you, Alice!

    congratulations on the second printing!

  2. You'll love the crisp Ria! It was great to see you in Minneapolis too.

  3. Dear Ms Medrich,
    I bought your newest cookie book as soon as it was available. It is wonderful, today I baked a batch of hazelnut sticks and they are amazing, just like all your recipes.
    I have been a long time fan of your books, I owned for many years a copy of your previous Cookies and Brownies book that I used so often it is barely holding together.
    Now I will bake my way through "Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy".
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and techniques!

  4. I loved this post, and congrats on the second printing...but for many of us authors who complain about book tours it is because not all of us get the kind of tours you get. Some of us, myself included, get sporadic flingings to parts uninteresting to stay in crappy hotels and get our happy selves to and from our events. I once spent an entire day alone in a Ramada outside Detroit watching a fuzzy marathon of Deadliest Catch while waiting to do a booksigning to which four people showed. The store had forgotten to promote the event. Actually they had forgotten the event was happening until I arrived. So much for "all the attention". The book tour you have experienced is a first world problem amongst writers, and actually the exception and not the rule. I long for a time when I might be able to complain about atour such as yours! In the meantime, there is always baking to soothe me, and this book is on my wishlist to play with in the new year. As i embark on my sixth novel, due August 1, I am definitely going to need cookies! Congrats again!

  5. Your newest cookbook is already one of my favorites -- it was great to meet you when you made a stop in Fort Worth!

    I've made three recipes so far...My Chocolate Chip Cookies was a huge hit (and the dough froze perfectly as you promised); the ginger cookies you demonstrated in class came out beautiful and delicious; and the coconut macaroons--using the large flake coconut--are stunning. I weighed all my flour, too! I'm sure I've been using too much.

    Thank you! Wishing you a wonderful new year and much success with the book.

  6. Alice, I've been thinking about making your fruitcake bars (I saw them on David's blog.) They look amazing!

    Enjoy the holidays!


  7. Congratulations on the success of your latest book! and thanks for sharing this recipe, which will get tested asap!

  8. So I just got my copy of "Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy" and oh wow! I opened it, set it down to fix dinner, and then couldn't put it down after dinner. My sister and I each have a copy (it arrived in the mail on the same day for both of us even though we ordered at different times), and both of us love it! I've decided I'll be baking a different cookie (not including the variations) each week, and bake my way through the whole book. My family has generously volunteered themselves to be guinea pigs for the experiment! :) Thanks for putting out such great books, and for all the experimenting you've done with chocolate!

  9. Stacey, I know. I really do. This is my eighth book and I feel very privileged to have the experience I’ve had, the publisher’s support, and all of the rest of it. Grateful indeed. We’ve all had appearances with only a couple of stray attendees and most of my colleagues have had occasion to show up at a venue where there are no books. It’s ugly. (I’ve managed to escape that one; unless you count the demo I did the other day for over a hundred people where the bookseller had only 5 books to sell). I wish you my complaint before your 8th novel. Writing is hard. I stand in awe of anyone who has written one, much less six novels. Food is hard too…but at least we have something tasty to serve at a signing. Perhaps novelists should include a recipe in each book. You’d be surprised how effective food can be in swelling a crowd. But not trying to joke... I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for letting me know.