March 11, 2008

It's a Pie! It's a Cake! ... It's a Turnover?

Last week was a little chaotic for me. I was in quite the hurry to post my weekly Tuesdays with Dorie dish and get back to my busy schedule, that I forgot (ever so rudely, I might add) to give kudos to Erin of Dinner and Dessert for selecting the Snickery Squares that with I am now in love (okay lust). So, please visit Erin's blog and also check out what's new with the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew.

So now that I got that out of the way ... This week, our lovely hostess, Natalie of Burned Bits, chose Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake. What is a pie-cake, you ask? A wonderful hybrid dessert that seems like a pie at first blush, but surprises you with its cake-like consistency.I've never been a big fan of fruit pie myself, so I honestly wasn't chomping at the bit to get going on this week's challenge. Then I noticed in Dorie's Playing Around notes that she mentioned making apple turnovers instead of one large pie-cake. Now that is my speed. Food already made in individual servings. Right on!

I followed the dough recipe to the letter and only made a slight modification to the filling (instead of raisins, I added about 1 1/2 cups of combo of dried blueberries, cranberries, plums and cherries). I then followed the assembly instructions for the turnovers (see end of this post). Before baking, I brushed with egg whites and then sprinklef coarse decorating sugar for a little added crunch and sweetness.

I think I rolled the dough a little too thick because the turnovers were pretty dense. It wasn't bad, but I think the dough overpowered the amount of the fruit mixture. If I were to make these again (and I likely will), I would roll the dough out a little thinner and would probably add fresh blueberries instead of the dried fuit. Overall, this was another perfect recipe from Dorie.

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
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.

Playing Around
Apple Turnovers
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.

Other recipes I've tried from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Snickery Squares
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Almost-Fudge G√Ęteau


Claudia said...

Your turnovers look so delicious! And what a helpful little machine to slice the apples so beautifully! Great job!

noskos said...

Nice pictures!! And wonderful looking turovers!

Karina said...

I love the idea of making turnovers from this recipe, and yours look so good! I love your photos. I'm also seriously jealous of your apple corer.

Jhianna said...

Lovely pictures, and your turnovers look amazing!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the turnovers!

CB said...

Your turnovers turned out great! I love your apple corer. Too cute.
-Clara @ I♥food4thought

Peabody said...

Jealous of your apple peeler...I used to own one but lost it in the move. :(
Great looking turnovers.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

beautiful little turnovers! and the dried fruit combo sounds great

Gretchen Noelle said...

These turnovers are eye candy! Beautiful job and I love how you styled the photo with the basket & the colors. Great job!

Jaime said...

your turnovers look so much better than my one! ha!

oh and i wish i had one of those apple gadgets! would have made this recipe so much easier....

Cakespy said...

Fantastic! How do you like them apples?!? I like them, very, very much. I love a good turnover.

superluckykitchen said...

i LOVE turnovers. i keep some puff pastry in my freezer just in case. i could eat them every night of the week!