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March 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake (My Mini Version!)

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Mini Version

It's Tuesday! So you know what that means...Tuesdays with Dorie! This week's recipe was Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake and it was chosen by Natalie of Burned Bits.

So it a pie or is it a cake? Yes! The dough is cake like, though the whole put together is more like that of a pie. I ended up making mini-pie-cakes so I could send them to work with Jamison, but that fell apart when the recipe only made 12. That wasn't enough to share with everyone he works with and I'm all about being fair! So I ended up freezing some of them for my sister once the baby is born, since I've been doing that lately so I'll have stuff to take to her in a few weeks after his arrival. Am I a nice sister or what? ;o)

I liked the end result of what I made, BUT I tweaked the recipe for the filling. I thought brown sugar would be better than regular sugar and I left out the raisins. I'll add my notes in the recipe below. I also thought the dough would have made some great lemon sugar cookies if you added some lemon zest and they were baked and topped with lemon icing...I may just have to test out that theory in the future! ;o)

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Dough

What You'll Need for the Dough:
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature (Note: I used salted butter. I rarely buy unsalted and never think about it most of the time until I see it in a recipe.)
1 cup sugar (Note: I used organic cane 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

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Apples

What You'll Need 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) (Note: I used Granny Smith. I only ended up using about 5 apples and had some left over that I cooked and froze. My apples weren't overly large either.)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice (Note: I didn't add this.)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) (Note: I didn't add these either.)
1/4 cup sugar (Note: I didn't think 1/4 a cup of sugar was enough for 10 apples. I didn't end up using 10 apples, but I did increase the sugar to 3/4 a cup. I also used natural brown sugar because I think brown sugar pairs better with apples than regular sugar. Had I used 10 apples I probably would have gone with a full cup of brown sugar.)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Note: I used 2 teaspoons.)
Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting (Note: I used organic cane 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.)

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Apples Sliced

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 llined 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.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

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.

Notes: Below is what I did to make the mini pie-cakes.

First cut a round of crust and place it into the hole of a muffin pan. Next add apples. (Note: I had to break the slices in half to get them in the muffin pan.)

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Ready to be Topped

Next cut another round, slightly smaller and place it on top of the apples, crimping around the sides and cut a couple of vents to let steam out.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Ready to Go

Next brush each top with a bit of water and sprinkle with sugar.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Ready for the Oven

Next bake for 18-25 minutes until mini-pie cakes are golden brown.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Baked

And finally enjoy the ooey gooey center! Only let them cool a bit or they'll stick when coming out and you'll end up with a mess.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake: Ooey Gooey Center

Oh the apple goodness! Until next week.

P.S. Oh and don't forget the March edition of the Dianne's Dishes contest series for your chance to win some free herbs and spices!

Posted by Dianne at March 11, 2008 7:01 AM

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They look so pretty as a pie-cake-muffin!!

Posted by: noskos at March 11, 2008 7:57 AM

Wow Dianne, these are stunning! Looks like a wonderful recipe. I'm a pastry dunce, but I might have to give this a try!

Posted by: Deborah at March 11, 2008 8:02 AM

These are by far the cutest things I have ever seen! Outstanding job!

Posted by: Chelle at March 11, 2008 9:10 AM

Absolutely beautiful photos! And what a great idea, to make them as mini tarts using muffin tins. I will have to do that next time. These are the cutest little tarts!

Posted by: Madam Chow at March 11, 2008 9:46 AM

Is it wrong to squeak like a school girl over baked goods? These are so adorable, they need a tea party!

Posted by: Lemon Tartlet at March 11, 2008 10:40 AM

I LOVE that you made thiem in pie tins...what a great idea! I can't wait to try it that way. Your pics look terrific!! And yes, they do need a tea party!

Posted by: Annemarie at March 11, 2008 10:54 AM

I meant muffin tins...oops!!

Posted by: Annemarie at March 11, 2008 10:55 AM

Your mini pie-cakes look fab!

I did wonder how they would freeze, please let me know, as I would definitely like to do so next time. Halving recipes and/or freezing them is critical when you have a household of two.

Posted by: Mari at March 11, 2008 11:32 AM

Love you little baby pie/cakes! How cute! I served mine with some ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup, because I found mine a bit dry, but yours looks nice and moist!

Posted by: Marie at March 11, 2008 11:57 AM

What a great idea to do it mini!

Posted by: Ulrike aka ostwestwind at March 11, 2008 12:51 PM

OMG!!! They are the cutest little pies ever! I totally think its cool that your stockpiling stuff for your Sis too. Nothing better then having food ready after the baby comes. No one feels like cooking. You are an awesome Sister!

Posted by: laurie at March 11, 2008 1:16 PM

yes, the mini pies are super cute.

unfortunately, i don't think one would be sufficient to satisfy my apple-pie needs. i'd go back for seconds. then i'd think, "hey--i usually eat three muffins at a time..." and i'd get a third. hopefully i'd be able to stop there. hopefully.

and if vanilla ice cream was involved, it'd be an entirely different story... :)

Posted by: a. grace at March 11, 2008 1:21 PM

omg! too stinkin cute! I totally want to try little muffin-pie-cake versions next time! Great job!

Posted by: CB at March 11, 2008 1:26 PM

I love the mini cakes! They look amazing! I bet you get more crust-to-apples that way, which is the way I like it!

Posted by: Erin at March 11, 2008 1:37 PM

These are definitely the best I've seen yet!! Absolutely gorgeous pics and excellent job adapting the recipe for a muffin tin! So creative!!

Posted by: tara at March 11, 2008 1:48 PM

I absolutely love the muffin tin idea!! Those turned out so sweet! I think lemon zest cookies with this dough would be divine! Go for it!

Posted by: Joy the Baker at March 11, 2008 3:21 PM

A tea party...Now that would be fun! :o)

These mini pie-cakes were really fun! Thanks everyone for stopping by! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 11, 2008 5:17 PM

Those are so cute! What a great idea to use the muffin tins.

Posted by: Judy at March 11, 2008 5:34 PM

Great idea! I'll have to try that next time! And let us know when you do the cookies from the crust, they sound yummy!

Posted by: Heather at March 11, 2008 7:09 PM

Those are beautiful! Great job, and what Heather said - let us know how the cookies turn out!

Posted by: Natalie at March 11, 2008 7:44 PM


Posted by: Melissa at March 11, 2008 9:44 PM

Those are so cute! I wish I had thought to use brown sugar. I bet it would've been even better.

Posted by: Amanda at March 11, 2008 9:49 PM

I will let you all know how the cookies turn out. I'll be trying that idea soon. :o)

The brown sugar really added to the flavor. I'm a big fan of brown versus white when it comes to fruit. It think it makes the flavor pop.

Posted by: Dianne at March 11, 2008 10:17 PM

Mmm, the brown sugar sounds like a great idea. I'll have to try that next time. And I love your pictures--it looks like your mini pies turned out great. =)

Posted by: Di at March 11, 2008 10:38 PM

wow! those are SO cute!!!

Posted by: Jaime at March 12, 2008 12:59 AM

Great job. I'm also going with the mini approach... better the calories from these things wind up on my co-workers hips and thighs than mine. :)

Posted by: Dolores at March 12, 2008 1:18 AM

Thanks everyone!

I'm a big fan of making desserts into smaller portions. It makes it easier to share and it makes it easier for me to eat one and walk away.

Posted by: Dianne at March 12, 2008 8:41 AM

hey, it's a great idea to make it with a muffin pan.. i might try that out next time!

Posted by: Piggy at March 12, 2008 2:04 PM


And...I agree. I'm using brown sugar next time, too. Good work!

Posted by: Rachel at March 12, 2008 8:23 PM

Thanks! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 12, 2008 8:59 PM

Wow wow wow! My jaw dropped when I saw that first photo. Yours is by far my favourite version of the apple pie-cake! It's so so cute. It makes me want to make it again even though I wasn't a huge fan.

Posted by: Ashley at March 13, 2008 1:27 AM

Wow wow wow! My jaw dropped when I saw that first photo. Yours is by far my favourite version of the apple pie-cake! It's so so cute. It makes me want to make it again even though I wasn't a huge fan.

Posted by: Ashley at March 13, 2008 1:28 AM

Using the muffin pan was a great idea! So cute.

Posted by: peabody at March 13, 2008 3:57 AM

Thanks! I was very pleased with the end result. They were so cute! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 13, 2008 12:21 PM

Those mini pie-cakes are fab! These would work so well for packing dessert in your lunch. Great job.

Posted by: danielle at March 15, 2008 3:20 AM

I hadn't thought about them for a lunch box, but you're right it's the perfect size! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 15, 2008 2:31 PM

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