TWD: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake

March 11, 2008 at 12:47 am | Posted in Blog Event, Pie, Tuesdays with Dorie | 32 Comments

Apple pie has always held a special place in my heart. My Mom isn’t much of a baker, or cook for that matter, but the one thing she knows how to make like no other is an apple pie. I adore my Mom’s apple pie and I was so excited for this weeks recipe chosen by Natalie over at Burned Bits.

All in all this was pretty easy to put together, I couldn’t find my rolling pin so my top layer got rolled out with a cup, which worked well enough, but it didn’t quite fit on one corner, but it was close enough. My oven thermometer said my oven was at 375, but my Pie-Cake was finished in about 45 mins and even then the bottom layer was a little darker than I would have liked and I like my apples a little mushier. If I did it again I would probably turn the heat down to 350, but all in all it was a success and it turned out so yummy. It doesn’t beat my Mom’s apple pie, but it was still delicious.

Pics of the inside will come after work.

Recipe after the break

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 9×12-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.



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  1. You’re so early with the post! Go you! Your cake/pie looks GORGEOUS! I have to go type up my post now…. I’m such an almost slacker!

  2. It look beautiful! I had the same problem with the pie-cake being done earlier than the 65 minutes in the book, but found it out to late.

  3. The top of yours looks absolutely picture perfect! Perfectly golden brown!

  4. So pretty! Apple pie is one of my favorite desserts, I’m definetly starring this recipe in my GR. Good job Nikki! 🙂

  5. This looks wonderful!! The top crust looks so good.

  6. I thought it was delicious, too, and I’d like to try it again with other fruit. Yours looks great!

  7. Perfect, as usual Miss Thing! 🙂

  8. Your crust looks like a snuggly bed of apple goodness. That ain’t a bad idea really, make one big enough to nap on!

  9. It looks beautiful! I don’t think ANYTHING could beat a Mom recipe!!

  10. Your image is just darn pretty! I really loved the way the crust turned out in this recipe. It was yum!

  11. Your pie cake looks great! I found that mine cooked alot faster as well. I checked it at 45 minutes and it’s a good thing that I did for I think it would have been burned if I had waited the whole time.

  12. FIERCE!! I love the brown ripples of your crust. Mine only took about 45 minutes too. Cant wait to see the innards pictures. 🙂 and EXCUSE ME… where is your contractual clara linkage? LOL.

  13. That looks so beautiful! I can’t wait to see the rest of your pictures. I may have to mark this one to try.

  14. Well done! Can’t wait for the inner picture and my mom didn’t bake apple pies, they are not usual in Northern Germany….

  15. Fab job babe! Looks perfect!

  16. Your pie-cake looks like it turned out beautifully! The top really rounds out the rustic feel of the dessert. Great job!

  17. The top of your cake looks beautiful! The color and texture are perfect!

  18. It looks like clouds of dough. Gorgeous! I agree on the cooking time, I waited and waited for juice to come out of the slits and I think the bottom browned a bit too much. Oh well, the taste was delicious!

  19. I love the waves that are on top of the cake, they are really pretty! Good thing you couldn’t find your rolling pin 😉

  20. I think Mom’s cooking always holds a special place in our hearts. I know my Mom’s does. 🙂

  21. Looks beautiful. (You can substitute a wine bottle for a rolling pin 🙂 )

  22. Looks nice!
    Before I had a proper rolling pin, I used to roll my dough out with a wine bottle. 🙂

  23. Looks great! I finally bought a rolling pin since it looked like I was going to need it with all these TWD recipes. 🙂

    I should have checked mine earlier too, but I went with the posted time.

  24. The top of your pie is gorgeous! I love how it puffed over the slices like that.

  25. I think it looks great having been rolled out by a cup!

  26. what a beautiful crust! never thought to roll out dough with a glass! ha!

  27. Damn I should have thought of a wine bottle … it’s not like I don’t have enough of them lying around

  28. I love the rustic look of your pie-cake. Sadly, mine’s going to be a day or two late… but after the rave reviews, I’m psyched about making it.

  29. Super tasty, definitely will eat the whole thing!

  30. looks great! must be quite difficult to roll out the dough with a cup… 😉

  31. Your pic looks great. Your crust looks nice a puffy. mine was flat like a crust.

  32. Very resourceful rolling out the dough with a cup

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