Tuesday, March 11, 2008

TWD: Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake

Apparently, grandma's and apple pie go together like peanut butter and chocolate. It seems like everyone's grandma had some sort of apple dessert that they made. Mine certainly did. My maternal grandma had a dried apple cake that she used to make. It was layers and layers of cake and a dried apple mixture spread between the layers. It seems like she always had some in her refrigerator. And I only liked it every once in awhile. The cake part was rather dry (It was supposed to be that way) and I'm not much of a cold cake type of person. But, I did love the part of the cake that sat right next to the dried apple filling. Yum.

I love apples and apple flavored things, but honestly, I'm not a huge apple pie fan. I just don't like the texture of mushy, cooked apples. But, I was really excited to make this apple pie cake, especially after reading the story in Dorie's cookbook of how she finally found a recipe similiar to the pie/cake that her grandma always made.

The recipe came together very easily for me. I ended up not needing the extra 1/4 cup of flour in the dough and after refrigerating overnight, the dough rolled out like a charm. I used fuji apples in the filling and also added a touch of vanilla (I have to have vanilla in everything). Also, I made the version in the deep dish pie dish.

It was delicious. It was almost like a apple cobbler. The top got pretty crispy, but the sides and the bottom of the cake were so cakey and moist. When I ate a piece last night, after it had cooled for about an hour, it tasted like I was eating apples and biscuits (which was good), but this morning, it was definitely softer and more cakey. Very delicious. And the apples stayed crunchy, which I loved.

I would definitely make this cake again for apple lovers. It's so homey tasting and different. The only problem is, it doesn't really keep its pie slice shape when you try to get it out of the pan. Oh well, who cares what it looks like on the plate, right (well, except for food bloggers)?

Maybe one day, I'll run across a recipe that is similiar to my grandmas dried apple cake...

Be sure to check out everyone elses Russian Grandmothers Apple Pie Cake, too!

UPDATE: This cake is unbelievable a couple of days later! The crust gets soft and moist and wow. This is an incredible pie/cake. I had to force myself to throw the rest of it out last night, because I couldn't stop eating it. Even as I was scraping it out of the pie plate and into the sink, I was sneaking bites in. Yum. This is a definite favorite of mine, now.

Russian Grandmothers Apple Pie Cake
Chosen by Natalie of Burned Bits

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.


noskos said...

Your cake looks beautiful in that deep pie dish!!

Anonymous said...

This looks absolutely fabulous! The crust couldn't be anymore perfectly browned. Great job!

Madam Chow said...

It looks like yours turned out really well. Like you, I don't care for mushy apples, and I was happy to discover that the ones I used did not get mushy during the baking process.

Mari said...

I also have to admire your pie dish, very nice!

amanda. said...

I love how it looks in the deep dish! Great job!

P.S. I totally agree about mushy apples. Bleh.

ostwestwind said...

Well done, great work!

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Marie Rayner said...

Your pie looks fantastic. You're right! It was a bit like a cobbler. We had ours with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup. That really added a nice touch!

CB said...

Same here. I like my apples al dente. haha. I think thats why I really liked this recipe. The apples weren't mushy... little crunchy. I love vanilla so I might have to add some per your rec next time! Great job!

Annemarie said...

It looks wonderful! I'm going to have to try it in pie form next time!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful crust!

slush said...

I think our pie-cakes are twins! LOL Great looking pie-cakes at that too. ;) Great job!

Anonymous said...

Looks great! I love the crust!

Melissa said...

Yours looks so pretty it the pie plate!

Jhianna said...

Love your pie plate! Looks great and adding vanilla is brilliant - can't get enough of it.

(Oh, and who cares what it looks like on the plate? Messy makes it taste better :)

Anonymous said...

Great job! Love your pie mould - they are not very common in Germany. I baked my apple tarte in a springform pan.

Jaime said...

it slices much better the next day... mine fell apart when i cut it that night but the next day it congealed nicely and was perfect when sliced! :)

your crust looks great! glad you enjoyed it

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

I love how it looks so rustic and free-form. It sounds like you really enjoyed this recipe. Great job!