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Tuesdays with Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake


This week’s Dorie recipe was chosen by Natalie of Burned Bits. Thanks Natalie for a great choice! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this recipe. I didn’t know if it would turn out more like a pie or a cake. The crust was very similar to an apple pie, but it was cake-like after baking because of the way it got nice and puffy. I loved the apple filling in between two layers of dough. Some people had problems with the dough being sticky, but I didn’t have that experience. It was a very smooth process for me! I added extra cinnamon because I love tons of cinnamon with my apples. The original recipe calls for a 9×13-inch pan, but I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8×8-inch pan because that was a more manageable amount of pie-cake. This recipe was very good and I would definitely make it again. It would be a great fall and winter dessert. Be sure to check out our Tuesdays with Dorie blog to see how everyone else did with the recipe!


Next week’s recipe will come from Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

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 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 9×12-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.

Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


26 Responses

  1. Your pie-cake looks fabulous!!!

  2. Looks absolutely wonderful Erin!!

  3. I liked this dessert, too. Yours looks like it turned out really well, beautifully browned.

  4. Such a gorgeous crumb! Great job!

  5. I’m with you…this one is a keeper! It looks wonderful!

  6. I love how homemade this pie-cake looks, mine brought on a wave of nostalgia for the desserts of my childhood.

  7. Lovely looking pie cake you got going there! I wish I had thought to halve the recipe myself. It’s a lot of pie/cake for two people, but I don’t think we’ll have much problem getting through it!

  8. Gorgeous! Seems like your apple layer is a lot larger than mine turned out. I would have enjoyed a piece of yours. 🙂

  9. I love how brown your crust got and the innards look so chunky! Great job!

  10. That looks so delicious! I love your blog, that is why I’m nominating you for an Excellent award! : )


  11. It looks perfect!! Great job! So glad you liked it too.

  12. Great job Erin!! I love how yours turned out!

  13. This would be a great fall dessert! We have a local orchard not far from us that has amazing apples in the fall. I’ll most definitely be pulling this recipe out again!

  14. Looks like it turned out perfectly.

  15. Great pictures! It looks delicious!

  16. I added extra cinnamon too…you can never have enough!

  17. Your pie cake turned out great. I love the color of the top of it! Great photos too!

  18. Your apples look yummy!

  19. great job! your crust looks perfect!

  20. Great job with this week’s challenge. I’m with you… I like a little apple with my cinnamon (and nutmeg). 🙂

  21. looks great! 🙂

  22. I should’ve halved it too. Great close up photos! It looks delicious.

  23. I agree. This would be a wonderful fall dessert. Great job!

  24. ooh, i always love seeing what each tuesday will bring – i wish i had time to participate myself! this looks Amazing-with-a-capital-A!

  25. your pie-cake looks great. i wish my crust had brownd that well.

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