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Book Touring Blogger’s Guilt w/ Apple Crisp

December 16th, 2010 by Cocolat

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
 
Equipment:
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.

Lost Blog: What No One Told Me

September 25th, 2010 by Cocolat

I “lost” my blog in cyber space for a few days. It had something to do with trying to make the address shorter and the whole thing easier to find. Poof it was gone. I was predictably freaked out…so much psychic energy went into setting it up and writing those posts. But more importantly and surprisingly, I found myself actually missing it. It was the stray you wish you hadn’t adopted, but to whom you’ve somehow grown attached. I began to prepare myself for the possibility that it might be gone forever. Would I start over? Could I bond with a new one…? When it suddenly “returned” one morning (not without considerable help and lots phone calls), I was relieved.
 
Welcome home wayward, burdensome, little nuisance. After only three posts I’m smitten and have these 10 reflections on blogging so far.
 
No one told me:
 
It would be so engaging.
 
It would be so time consuming.
 
I’d begin watching myself (as if from above) and internally narrating my actions in full sentences.
 
I’d begin to wonder if what I was doing, eating, thinking, reading, or drinking was of any interest to anyone else and if so, what should be said about it.
 
I’d need more than two hands to bake a cake (an extra pair to take action shots).
 
I’d feel guilty if I ate or baked something without taking a picture.
 
I’d start taking pictures of my breakfast, the mess on my counters, peelings left after eating fresh lychee nuts, an empty dish after four of us demolished a flan, a gift of warm just-laid eggs in a paper bag.
 
I’d generate such a large list of topics, and then have to cross them off one by one because I couldn’t figure out what point I would be trying to make.
 
I’d be wondering if this is a healthy way to live.
 
I’d be excited (none-the-less) to try the next topic….