Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays, Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

I really like this weeks recipe. I did make some changes to the crust recipe. I used 1 stick of butter and the rest was some rehydrated applesauce that I had made last fall. Then I used vanilla sugar for the sugar. Everyone really liked the crust.

I used Granny Smith for the apples. There was very little juce which I liked. The way the recipe is you taste the apples. Next time I think that I will use a mix of apples. I will be making another one on friday for Pie Day.

Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

For The Dough
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For The Apples
10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (I like to use Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Reds; my grandmother probably used dry baking apples like Cordland and Rome)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting

To Make The Dough: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice - the dough will probably curdle, but don't worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra 1/4 cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.)

To Make The Apples: Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice - even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that's fine - and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 9x12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking shee tlined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it's a little more malleable, you've got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan - because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven's heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about 1/4 inch thick - you don't want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that's fine; if it doesn't that's fine too.

Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenely across the bottom.

Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you've got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don't have that much overhang, just press what you've got against the sides of the pan.)

Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.

Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You'll be tempted to taste it sooner, but I think the dough needs a little time to rest.


Marie said...

I used a mixture of granny smiths and pink ladies and I had absolutely no juices at all, which kind of dissappointed me. I felt it was too dry. Once we added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup though it was really good!

Tara said...

the changes to your crust sounds wonderful! i thought about using apple cidar in place of the lemon juice but got too nervous to change anything. lol great job!

Dianne's Dishes said...

I used an entire stick of butter for the crust. Until you mentioned it though I didn't know I had misread the recipe...Oh well...The crust turned out great! Your pie-cake looks fabulous!

CB said...

But the butter is the best part! hehe. Glad you like the recipe!
-Clara @ I♥food4thought

Heather said...

Your crust changes sound wonderful! I used Fuji apples in mine and I didn't have a lot of juice either. I'm glad, no one likes a soggy crust!

Melissa said...

The crust changes sound great!

Michelle said...

Great job! :)

Karina said...

Ooh, great idea using vanilla sugar. I'll have to remember to try that next time. I loved this recipe, I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

Jhianna said...

Rehydrated applesauce, great idea!

Dolores said...

I was wondering if it was going to be possible to make the crust a little lower fat... all of the whole wheat pastry flour in the world can't combat 2 cubes of butter. I'm glad to hear that the applesauce worked out; I will have to try that next time.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your crust changes sound delicious! So glad everyone enjoyed them! Wonderful!!

Jaime said...

glad you liked the recipe; i like the idea of using the vanilla sugar

where are the pics? :)