Tuesday, March 11, 2008

TWD: Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

My second Tuesdays With Dorie bake, this week's recipe was choosen by Natalie of Burned Bits and can be found on page 310-311 of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My House To Yours.

When I read the recipe I thought that it would be pretty simple to make this one, well it wasn't! I had a lot of trouble with the dough, it was really sticky! When I finally rolled it to the right dimensions it wouldn't let go of the parchment, resulting in a very messy top layer. The bottom layer I could patch with bits and pieces but that didn't work for the top layer because of all the apple bits underneath.

When it came out of the oven after 65 minutes it didn't look ok, it was very dark around the sides, almost burned. In the middle it was ok.
My trusty tasters and I didn't care for it. One reason could be that I used goudreinetten as the apple, a very old Dutch apple breed that we use here for apple pie, applesauce etc. This a a very tart apple and I think the filling could have used way more sugar. We were also not to crazy about the crust, the structure was ok, but we didn't care for the flavor.

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 sheet lined 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 evenly 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.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you didn't like this week's recipe, but it looks fabulous!

CB said...

Its too bad you didn't care for it much but your pictures are fab! I esp love the last one - the cinnamon sugar one. Yum!

Sarah said...

Sorry you didn't care for it...I thought the dough was great. I added a bit more flour so it was a tad less sticky. I like the pictures!

Madam Chow said...

Sorry you didn't like it. We loved the crust, and even though I cut the recipe in half, I used the full amount of sugar, and I think it needed it.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh no--you didn't like it! well, there's always next week...i also added a bit more sugar to mine, b/c i didn't think my apples were sweet enough either.

Annemarie said...

Despite the trouble you had it looks fabulous! Sorry, it's no fun when it doesn't turn out the way you hoped it would.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I had trouble with the dough too, and scraped the parchment paper for a floured work surface. I used goudreinetten apples too, and thought it the amount of sugar was fine, but I don't like overly sweet apple pies. If you don't have one already, I'd suggest getting a good quality oven thermometer, as most home ovens temperatures vary and have hot & cold spots. If you think your crust colored too much that could be part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

You gave it a good try! it looks good too, even if it didn't come out how you like it.

Joy the Baker said...

dark or not, it looks lovely! i'm glad you enjoyed it!

Marie said...

Great pictures. I found my pie/cake to be a tad dry for my liking. I don't know if it was the apples I used or not. I used a mixture of Granny Smiths and PInk Ladies. We had ours with some vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup because as well I didn't think it was sweet enough....the two additions did the trick and we thoroughly enjoyed it then!

ostwestwind said...

Sorry, that you don't care for it. We liked it, it's so different from our apple cakes.

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you didn't care for your pie-cake! Welcome to the group!

Dianne said...

I agree on the sugar content. I upped it in my recipe. I didn't think 1/4 a cup was enough.

Katrina said...

It LOOKS great, even if the taste wasn't all there.

slush said...

I am so sorry you didnt care for it. There is always next week. It looks extra pie-cakey! Great job!

Erin said...

Sorry you didn't like it, but your pie-cake still looks great! It came out so nice and clean :)

Heather said...

Great pictures! Sorry you didn't like your pie-cake, it still looks tasty!

Judy said...

I always find it interesting to see how the same recipe turns out so differently for everyone. So many things can affect the flavor, and it just may be something that doesn't suit your tastes. But, good for you for trying. It looks like it turned out just fine.

Melissa said...

A lot of people seemed to have trouble with the dough. I didn't...hmm...maybe I did it wrong! Yours still looks great though!!!

Jhianna said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this week's recipe! Looks good, and there's always next week, right?

Jaime said...

your crust looks great. i had to use foil as a pie crust shield to prevent mine from burning... sorry this recipe wasn't too good for you; hope you enjoy the brioche more :)

eatme_delicious said...

I really hate sticky dough. Thankfully this dough wasn't sticky for me otherwise I'm sure I would've been a lot more bitter about the experience! You say that the pie-cake almost burned but I love how brown it looks.

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

It seems this recipe got mixed reviews from everyone. I will agree -- it is definitely different than any pie or cake I have ever had. You did a great job.