TWD Rewind: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake

This week the TWD bakers made kugelhopf. It looked delicious! But it’s got yeast, which is not one of my strong suits, and I had just returned from vacation and was nt exactly looking for a challenge just yet. I opted for a March recipe I had missed out on and did a dry run for Thanksgiving dinner, but I certainly encourage you to check out the other bakers’ experiments – especially Engineer Baker, who takes darling photos on spectacular tablewares.

packs well for lunch

So, I made the apple pie-cake, which is a perfect description of this dessert.  I freelanced a little for the sake of time Monday after work, but it still turned out great. Instead of dividing the dough in two and refrigerating it for a few hours and then rolling it out to make a pie crust pit over a 13×9 pan, I pressed half the dough into the bottom of the greased pan and chilled it while I peeled and sliced a TON of apples for the filling. I rolled out the second half and just sort of fit it into the pan after I dumped my apple filling in, and it all turned out just fine for a family holiday.

The top crust reminded me of a quick cobbler-style dessert I’ve made a lot since college: peel and chop apples, and season them to make an apple pie-like filling to fill a square baking dish, and then slice refrigerated sugar cookie dough and lay on top of the apples. It’s quick, and great with ice cream.

Dorie’s creation is definitely a step up from that dessert, but not by much.  My top crust was sort of like a cake-y cookie with a crisp shell and a mild lemon-y taste, and the bottom crust held it all together well.

Yum! Fall!

The apples inside were not at all sweet or gooey. They were soft and tart, just like a good apple pie should be.  I used a combination of granny Smith and honeycrisp apples because that’s what I had in the house, and it worked just fine. I piled them in the center, with about an inch of crust exposed around the edge of the bottom layer, so that when the top layer covered the whole thing and the two crusts rose during baking, they would fuse and seal in the apples.  Worked like a charm!

I’ll totally use my lazy crust method again next time, and I think I’ll divide up the dough differently, with maybe 2/3 on the bottom layer and 1/3 on top.   Maybe throw a little brandy in with the apples…

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I'm a suburban amateur chef and professional writer who hates grocery shopping. Go figure.

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