I woke up yesterday morning with the words apple pie cake still lingering in my head between layers of sleep and a rapidly evaporating scene involving two turnips who twalked (talked and walked). Tip : cheese before bed, is rarely a good idea. Especially cheesecake.
Since twalking turnips are too challenging to conjure up, I settled on making the apple pie cake of my dreams. Rifling through the internet over a bowl of warm oatmeal revealed that such a singular thing did indeed exist. In its many forms, it is a well known Russian dessert, a Dorie Greenspan or Martha Stewart recipe, and also something that resembles apple pie filling between layers of frosting and butter cake. For the purposes of this dessert exercise, I chose the Dorie Greenspan route.
If you find the decision between having pie or cake a particularly taxing one, this recipe cleverly has a foot in each realm. The pastry tastes just so, but with a cakey consistency. Its baked craggy bumps and folds and that gentle lifting scent of warm cinnamon brought to mind the pies I never baked cooling on window sills of houses I never lived in. Seemingly heavy stuff, but not really. Just something incredibly easy to make, enjoyable to eat and pleasing to share. Below is the recipe, a down-sized version of the original which made 18 servings and seemed like overkill even to the two pie lovers of this household.
Apple Pie-Cake :
(a down-sized version of a recipe from Baking by Dorie Greenspan)
For the dough :
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 cups plain flour
For the apples :
4 large green apples
juice of 1/2 lemon
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 generous teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the dough, place the butter and sugar in a mixer and beat until smooth. Add the egg, lemon juice and pinch of salt, beating to combine. Add the flour and baking powder and slowly mix until the dough comes together. Add a few more tablespoons of flour if the dough looks too wet. Wrap the dough and chill for at least 2 hours before using.
When you are ready to roll the dough, first prepare the filling. Peel, core and slice the apples roughly 1/4 inch thick. Toss with the lemon juice, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, then set aside.
Cut the dough in half and roll the first half to fit a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Line the pan with the dough. Pile the sliced apples on top of the dough, then roll the second half of the dough as a lid. Crimp or press the edges of the pastry together. Cut a few slits on top of the pastry and sprinkle with extra sugar and cinnamon if you wish. Bake in a preheated 180’C oven for approximately 1 hour, until the pastry is golden brown (cover loosely with foil if it appears to be browning too quickly, half way through the baking time).