Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Apple Pie Cake....

One of the things that inspired me to actually put my cooking endeavors online was not only tastespotting.com, but the 'groups' I see posted there. Theres a certain thrill to going to tastespotting and suddenly seeing a half dozen takes on the same recipe.

I was excited to tackle this week's Tuesdays with Dorie challenge, not only as a new member, but because I'd get to use the Dorie book I got for xmas and has been sitting unused until now. I have a thing about collecting cookbooks... all those pages of ideas and treats hidden inside... but I don't use them nearly as much as I should.

So, on to the Apple Pie Cake. After the booming success of The Pioneer Woman's coronary inducing apple dumplings (not for the feint of blood pressure, but oh so good...) I've been on a big apple kick. So This was even more exciting.

Reading through the recipe, I decided with the 3 hours rest time, this would be a better 2-day endeavor than trying to fit it all in one. So I started the batter Saturday afternoon. It was stickier than I had figured on, even after using the extra 1/4 cup of flour. But with the notes of it doubling as a cookie dough, I figured the texture/stickiness was normal. Wrapping them snuggly in a double layer of plastic wrap, they went into the fridge overnight.

The next day while pancakes and bacon were doing their thing on the stove and in the oven respectively, I set about peeling and chopping all ten apples. I only had the regular brown raisins on-hand, which looking back, yellow would have been prettier, but thats what was in the pantry.

After setting the dough out for a few minutes, it rolled out pretty easy, though still sticky as the night before. The bottom layer ended up almost coming to the top of the pan, then the top layer made for a snug tucking all around as the instructions suggested.

I popped the pie-cake in the oven and set the timer for 65 minutes. Once it dinged, the pie-cake smelled heavenly and was taking on a lovely golden color... but there was none of the mentioned 'bubbling' of the apple innards. So I let it go another 5 minutes. 65 would have been the perfect time, I discovered in hindsight as I pulled out a much darker at the edged pie-cake. Not burnt, but definitely browner than I'd have liked.

There was plenty of time before dinner, so I let the pie-cake rest and cool down until dessert. Slicing in, it was pretty easy to pull free a slice and serve, though its much less goey than I'd expect from something named "Apple Pie Cake," though that could be due to the fuji apple filling- I usually use a juicer apple. Still, it was very tasty. With the raisins and scant 1/4 cup of sugar, it has the illusion of 'healthy,' if you ignore the cookie-esque crust. Definitely a tasty treat, and a great first Tuesday with Dorie endeavor.
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.


noskos said...

It looks like you had a fun time baking your first TWD recipe. It turned out very pretty!!

Madam Chow said...

I love the Pioneer Woman! And we really liked this dessert, too. I halved the recipe, but ended up using the full amount of sugar. Yours turned out lovely.

Rachel said...

Great job! I love the name of your blog, too. I'll be singing "she bop" by Cyndi Lauper only saying "she bake" all day long!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Good job, and welcome aboard!

Annemarie said...

It looks great!! Mine wasn't "gooey" either, but that did make it easier to cut up & serve.

Lemon Tartlet said...

Pretended it was healthy when I had a turn over this morning for breakfast, hah! Yours looks so good!

ostwestwind said...

That looks yummy, great work!

Marie said...

Congrats on your first TWD challenge! Looks fantastic! Mine was rather dry as well and I don't think it was the apples as I used Granny Smith and Pink Ladies and they are usually great in pies and such. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup when I served it and it went down a treat!

Dianne's Dishes said...

Congrats on your first TWD! Your pie-cake looks fabulous!

Tara said...

Looks great!! I didn't have the bubbly thing going on at the end either and ended up cooking it slightly too long as well. Ah well, it was delicious all the same!

Erin said...

Looks great! Your crust is pretty!

Melissa said...

You're right, it wasn't as gooey as I thought it should be.

Claudia said...

Great job - your pie-cake looks delicious! I think I will make this apple tarte every now and then.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Mine also overbrowned in an effort to achieve the bubbling through effect! Yours looks great I think!

Jaime said...

looks great! welcome to TWD :)