Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie.

It's Tuesdays with Dorie time again!

This week Natalie of Burned Bits chose Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake and for some reason I was dreading it. I don't like a lot of fruit and the only time I've ever liked apple pie was during my pregnancy. Luckily, we were allowed to use Dorie's "Playing Around" options which included turnovers.


I put off making my turnovers until yesterday because I assumed, without reading the recipe, that these turnovers were going to take all day and be really tough. They were so easy. The hardest and most time consuming part was waiting for my dough to come to room temperature since I let it sit in the fridge overnight.

For some reason I couldn't use all my apples. I peeled and chopped 10 apples like Dorie said and ended up throwing over half of them away. I used all of my dough and stuffed as much apple mixture as I could in them without tearing the dough so I'm not really sure what I did wrong. Maybe I should've chopped the apples smaller.


I think these are pretty amazing. Spencer thinks they don't have enough apple in them but I blame myself for that. Landon, however, gives them two thumbs up:


Russian Grandmother's 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 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 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.


Sarah said...

Great job! I only used half of the apples in the recipe and still had too many. I couldn't get that many apples in my turnovers. Still tasty though!

ostwestwind said...

The "monster" is cute, well done, both the monster and the cake

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Marie said...

Cute little turnovers! I may try to do turnovers next time around! Love the photo of your taste tester!

Tara said...

Great job on your turnovers!! I'm sorry you had so much apple filling leftover and it kills me to know that it was thrown away! (I'm a HUGE apple fan lol) On to next week's recipe!

Lisa said...

Yum - those look delicious! I love apple turnovers. Landon is so adorable! He's such a lucky boy to have such a great cook for a momma!

noskos said...

Nice looking turnovers! I might give that a try next time!

Melissa said...

Adorable monster you have there! The turnovers look cute!

Michelle said...

I love the turnovers! And what a cute little guy!

Karina said...

Your turnovers look great! I almost made turnovers but I was in a rush and didn't want to deal with stuffing them. I'll have to try them next time!

Di said...

Your turnovers look great! I thought about making them, but like you, thought it would take to long. I love the picture of Landon. =) I was able to get pictures of my toddler enjoying the pie-cake, too. My 5-year old wouldn't eat it because of the raisins, even though I know she likes them.

Jhianna said...

I had way too many apples for the full pan version too. Great turnovers!

Dolores said...

I had the opposite problem... *didn't* read the recipe through and had no idea my dough had to rest for three hours. So it's resting overnight, and I'll have turnovers for breakfast. :)

You did a great job with yours. A shame about the leftover apples... if I have leftovers I may try cooking them into an apple compote...

Gretchen Noelle said...

Adorable turnovers! Wish I had done those!

Jaime said...

i agree.... based on my observation w/my one turnover ;) there was not enough filling and i would have had way too much filling leftover if i had made the turnovers....glad to hear it wasn't just me! your turnovers look great though! good job :)

eatme_delicious said...

Your turnovers look great! I ended up using only 8 apples because the apples I chose (Fujis) are really big.

Peabody said...

I love all the little turnovers...I will have to remember that for next time.