The name of this recipe had me drooling y’all, there are few things I love more than an apple pie. The problem was, D is very anti apple pie, what’s a girl to do when trying to show off for TWD and please her hard working man (he really is hard working, that man works like a mule)?
Pears! D loves pears, and ever since I made the pear crumble he’s been very enthusiastic about baking more of them. A little chat with the brilliant Jaime got us both wanting to try combining pears, apples, and cranberries for our filling. Nobody ever accused me of being the brightest, but I’ve got enough sense to know if she thinks something food related is a good idea it’s worth a try.
The first time I made the dough (half the recipe), I did it by the book and put it in the fridge for 3 hours. It stayed as sticky as it started out with, and my first turn overs fell apart when I tried to make them. They tasted perfect, but they looked so bad I knew that trying again was the right thing to do. The second time I made the dough, I forgot to put it in the fridge and got distracted watching Star Trek with D! Oh no! The funny thing was that when I picked it up to put it away, it was firmer. Not dried out, and I’d added a little extra flour but it was a lot more dough like. Why not try it right? Floured a silicone sheet, and patted out two large circles. Added the filling, and using a spatula carefully flipped one half over and pressed it closed. It wasn’t sticky, it worked! Lifted it to the baking pan, and baked it at 375 F for 20 minutes.
If y’all are kind, you’ll call them rustic. No laughing at how I like things better when they look like that, ain’t got nothing against fancy but this makes me hungry! They’re big enough that D and me split one, and we were both satisfied after half. It was almost too much! The pastry is so good you could eat it by itself. The other half that i didn’t use for the turn overs, I made into a log and put in the fridge to make cookies with.
Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
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 flourFor The Apples
10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (Dorie likes to use Fuji , Golden Delicious and Ida Reds; her 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 cinnamonSugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting
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.
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 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.
Roll out the dough until it is a little thinner than 1/4 inch and cut it into circles 4-1/2 to 5 inches in diameter. Fill each one with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the apple filling (I chop the apples when I’m using them in a small turnover) or substitute another fruit filling, apple butter and apple chunks or some great preserves. Brush the edges of each dough circle with a little water, fold over the dough to make a half circle pocket and use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and cut a steam slit in the top of each turnover. Bake in a 375-degree-F oven for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and you can smell the sweet filling. Cool to room temperature before serving.